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You've all heard the question before so you know what I'm asking. My situation is this. I'm 23, been cooking on lines since I was 17. I have experience mainly in steakhouses, most notably AKM for two years with Outback Steakhouse. I recently moved up to the Keystone, CO area with intentions of attending Colorado Mountain College's Culinary Apprenticeship program. I've been talking to the chefs that run the program and I believe I may have a position with the Alpenglow Stube on Keystone mountain for the winter to give me a head start on the program when it starts next June. Since I've been living up here, I've met a number of CMC program grads, other culinary school grads, and other people who know grads and I've heard lots of talk about how the program isn't what is used to be, that all of the good chefs that used to be involved in the program are no longer there, and that I'll be learning from fresh young chefs who don't really have much experience.


I decided to pursue this route because I lived two hours away, it's a fraction of the cost of other schools, and the program gets you the degree with a resume that says you actually worked in real restaurants practicing the skills you learned unlike other programs. The dilemma I'm now having is that I feel it's not going to be worth my time if my instructors don't really have the experience that I'm looking to learn from. I'm an extremely hard worker, I love cooking, I love working in real restaurants, and I want to be the best chef I can possibly be and want to learn as much as I can possibly learn. In my case tuition cost is not a problem as far as what school I choose to go to. I had previously applied to J&W and the CIA but decided on this program purely because of cost and the fact that it has you working through the program.


So my question is this; If tuition is not an issue, should I reconsider my decision and head for J&W or the CIA?