Sustainable Cuisine Faculty

Academics, entrepreneurs, and award-winning chefs comprise the faculty at the Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute

Todd Rymer, Director of Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute at EdwardsTodd Rymer, Director of Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute at Edwards, has an extensive background in the Culinary Arts. Chef Rymer is Certified by the American Culinary Federation as an Executive Chef. His formal training as a chef began over twenty years ago at Robert Morgan Vocational Technical Institute in Miami, Florida. He further honed his craft for many years by cooking in several of Miami’s finest restaurants and hotels including The Depot and La Casa Grande restaurants, the Sonesta Beach Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables Hotel.

While continuing to work as an Executive Chef, Todd earned his Master of Science in Hotel and Food Service Management from Florida International University. He then became a Chef Instructor for Johnson & Wales University before becoming Director of Johnson & Wales University’s Vail campus. When that program moved to Denver, he chose to remain in the beautiful Vail Valley as Director of CMCCI at Vail.

“Compared to traditional culinary schools, the apprenticeship program prepares students for career success, says Todd. “The hands-on learning in outstanding professional kitchens allows students to develop superior hand and knife skills while reinforcing knowledge covered in classes. Students exposed to the realities of the workplace including production demands, the importance of organization and communication skills, cultural diversity, etc. are well equipped to face these challenges in the workplace.”

Prior to training as a Chef, Rymer earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from New College of the University of South Florida. He lives in Vail with his wife, Michelle and two daughters Jessica and Valerie.

Rick Kangas, Entrepreneur and James Beard award recipient.

Kangas was born into a restaurant family- his grandmother owned two restaurants in Butte and his mother worked in food service throughout his childhood. When she couldn’t make it home to prepare dinner, she would tell him what to do over the telephone. At college, Kangas took a part time job in the kitchen of St. Mary’s Glacier Hotel, and his fate was sealed. He worked at the Rocky Mountain Pasta Company in Bozeman, and then at the Stock Exchange and Broadway Bistro in Billings before returning to Glacier as sous-chef of the Lake McDonald Lodge. To expand his culinary repertoire, between seasons he traveled extensively, to San Francisco, New Zealand, Paris, and Copenhagen. In the fall of 1993, he and local restaurateur David Dowell opened Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek.

Known for its comfortable environment, friendly service and Kangas’s contemporary American cooking, the Grouse Mountain Grill built a truly exceptional culinary reputation with dishes like his double-cut pork chops on apple-pear chutney with pickled figs and smoked red trout cakes. The restaurant has received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, an AAA Four-Diamond Award, and a top rating in the Rocky Mountain Zagat Survey while under the direction of Chef Kangas.

Chef Kangas currently oversees the senior citizen lunch program for Eagle County. A former instructor for Johnson & Wales University, Chef Kangas teaches a wide array of courses, from Chacuterie to Computer Applications. Students are consistently impressed with his culinary knowledge and teaching style.

Marshall Blanchard
Marshall is the Executive Chef at the Golden Eagle Inn located in Beaver Creek Village. He serves up creative fusion food with local elk and fresh fish. An avid baker and graduate of the CIA, Marshall makes all of his bread in-house. He has this to say about his chosen profession, “It’s a really good time to be a chef. Food and chefs are getting to be more of a noble profession. People are interested in different foods, It keeps me on my toes, looking for new items. The internet and Fed Ex have changed the restaurant industry.” Marshall is married to Amy, a local representative for a fish and seafood company.

Shawn Smith
Shawn Smith is the owner of Mountain Flour, a bakery that features homemade baked goods, ice cream and wedding cakes. He trained at the CIA and many fine restaurants in Chicago before moving to Vail to become the Head Pastry Chef at The Lodge at Vail. Shawn is married to Allena, a very talented pastry chef in her own right.

Steven Topple
Currently, Steven is the Executive Chef at Beano’s Cabin. He has also worked at the Wilcox Inn in South Carolina, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Restaurant in San Francisco, the Sea Island Company in Georgia, and most recently The Wildflower at The Lodge at Vail. Chef Topple is a firm believer in seasonal, regional cooking. His menu at Beano’s showcases Colorado ingredients such as lamb, buffalo and elk and in the summertime features organic, Colorado produce.

Heather Weems
After receiving a BA in English from University of Colorado at Boulder, Heather moved to the Vail Valley in 1997 to attend Johnson and Wales Culinary School. She competed on the school’s culinary team under the coaching of Culinary Olympic Chef Robert Mancueso. Inspired by Vail’s vision to become a top culinary destination, she decided to stay in the valley. Heather has worked as a pastry chef at Timberhearth Grille and Allie’s Cabin, and then as Sous Chef at Red Sky Ranch prior to owning a small deli. She sold her business to better balance family life and began working at CMC in 2006.

Currently, she recruits students, provides administrative support to the culinary program and teaches Nutrition for Food service Professionals and Introduction to Food Production. She is married to Executive Chef Kirk Weems who also teaches cooking classes and supervises apprentices.