Colorado is a huge tourist state, so chefs have a constantly-changing group of people to serve. Chefs in this state need to be versatile and willing to adapt to a variety of needs, tastes and cuisines. In terms of residents, there are almost 5.3 million people living in Colorado. Many of them live in or very close to the state’s largest cities, which include Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora.
There are a variety of excellent restaurants in Colorado, including Frasca Food and Wine, Sushi Den, and ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro. With an overall cost of living that is only 7% above the national average, it is still affordable to eat at many of Colorado’s best restaurants.
There are eight culinary schools based in Colorado, most of which are located in or very close to the state’s major cities. The average acceptance rate is 53%, so you must put your best foot forward while applying. The state’s average tuition cost of $9,894 is partially offset by the average scholarship award of $2,567, giving you an overall affordable education.
As you prepare to start your education, you have to decide which degree level you would like to pursue. Most schools in Colorado allow you to choose between an Associate’s degree or certificate. An Associate’s degree is the more thorough option, as it usually requires two years of full-time study. A certificate, on the other hand, takes about one year. The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers a unique opportunity that other schools do not. Home cooks can attend a home cooking class to learn about simple foods to serve their families.
Culinary Schools in Colorado
Culinary courses cover several different aspects. Safety is an important factor in the culinary world, since a safety violation can shut down an entire restaurant. However, you also need to know how to function as part of a kitchen team. You may learn how to prep for dinner service, how to take order from chefs above you in rank, and how to prioritize different orders.
As a new culinary graduate, you will have to decide what kind of job you want to take. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that almost 50% of chefs work in restaurants, so most of your job opportunities will be located in restaurants. If you work in a fine dining restaurant, you may start as a line chef before you can work your way up to a more specialized position. If you’d rather stay out of restaurants, you may pursue catering or personal chef jobs.
In Colorado, some of the primary chef employers are King Soopers, Seasons 52, and Fox Restaurant Concepts.
You do not need any special license or certification to work as a chef or cook in Colorado. Instead of providing a certificate, you may need to physically demonstrate your cooking skills to potential employers or outline what you learned in your culinary program.
American Culinary Foundation certification is an option for cooks and chefs that want to prove their abilities in a specific field. You must pass a written and skills test, after which you receive your certificate.
Chef salaries in Colorado vary depending on experience, seniority, and education. Executive chefs, who run the kitchen, usually earn the most money. They are followed sous chefs, specialty chefs, and line chefs.
The job outlook for culinary professional in Colorado is generally in line with the national outlook. Job openings for chefs are expected to increase by about 3% between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). Restaurant cooks can anticipate an increase in demand of 10% in the same time frame (O*Net, 2010).