CMC Culinary Arts – Vail Valley Graduates

In their own words, graduates share their Colorado Mountain College experience

Aaron Cousineau
photo - Aaron Cousineau.

Thorough, innovative, invaluable

“When I decided to make a career out of cooking, I knew I had a lot of school options, and I couldn’t be happier about choosing Colorado Mountain College. The training I received at the CMC Culinary Institute was thorough, innovative, energetic and invaluable. It has paid off in ways unimaginable.

Throughout my schooling at CMC, I got hands-on experience working at upscale restaurants in Beaver Creek and Vail. I participated in special culinary events alongside renowned chefs such as Steve Topple, whom I assisted at the Grand Tasting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the Taste of Vail Culinary Festival and the “Summertime in Piemonte” Chaine Culinary Fundraiser dinner.

The amazing instruction I received at the Culinary Institute kept me inspired and motivated and led me to win the Chaine des Rotisseurs Vail Bailliage Young Chefs Competition in Denver. All of these opportunities helped build the credentials that got me invited to estage at restaurants like Daniel Boulud’s Daniel NYC and Mindy Seigel’s Hot Chocolate in Chicago.

Now, I’ve landed a coveted position at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas. I’m working at what I love, every day, and learning more and more with every step I take. I’ve had the spark my whole life, and my time at the CMC Culinary Institute is what really set the fire ablaze.”

Aaron Cousineau works at the Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas.

Adam Kapela
grad Adam Kapela

Helpful Staff

“The most helpful part about Colorado Mountain College was the Staff, and the way classes were held. I am a very hands-on person and three years of working in a kitchen to get my degree was exactly what I was looking for. I always revisit my notes and books that I used in school.”

Adam Kapela works at the Black Butte Ranch, a destination golf resort in Bend, Oregon. He works there as Executive Sous Chef.

Sarah Naef

Photo of graduate Sarah Naef

Accommodating Program

“Going to college was not something I was ever really expecting to do, and because of the way this program was set up I was able to do it. I got a college degree, which is something I never thought I would do with three kids.”

Sarah Naef graduate from the Culinary Arts program in 2010. After working as a student and then a mentor at the Cannes film festival in France, she was hired as a permanent staff member. Currently, she lives in Carbondale with her family and works at Russets restaurant.

Scott Ulen
Photo of culinary arts graduate Scott Ulen.

Different Perspectives

“The hands-on nature of the CMC program was a great fit for me. Working in restaurant kitchens while attending classes allowed me to constantly practice the techniques I was learning in the classroom. I was able to move at my own pace through the program, and working in several different restaurants over the course of the program allowed me to see the restaurant business from multiple perspectives.”

Scott Ulen graduate in 2009. After working for a year at the Michelin-starred restaurant Tru, he has chosen to focus on charcuterie at the Chicago gastropub Owen & Engine.