A full course education

Tyler Peer slices into a potato with a knife. Peer is a first-year culinary student studying in the apprenticeship program at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ryan Cornell/Daily

STRASBURG — As recent Strasburg graduate Tyler Peer knows, there can never be too many cooks in the kitchen.

Peer, 18, has spent the past six months in the apprenticeship program at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he studies under 125 chefs in the resort’s dozen kitchens.

For three years, he’ll work as an employee cooking up meals for guests at the five-star resort — think The Greenbrier of the Rocky Mountains — and attend weekly classes at Denver’s Red Rocks Community College to earn his culinary certificate.

Peer is paid a salary for his hours at the Broadmoor. The tuition for his classes is $4,000, he said.

An affordable alternative to expensive culinary institutes, the apprenticeship program still gives him the opportunity to learn from the resort’s many chefs, each of whom offer him guidance and help.

“In this industry, why spend all that money on school when you can learn it all at an apprenticeship?” Peer said.

He said the high pressure and fast-paced environment has whittled away other first-year apprentices who didn’t have their heart in cooking. For Peer, it’s only intensified his culinary passion.

He said the program started in August with 10 first-year students and is now down to six remaining students.

“[Gordon Ramsay] actually reminds me a lot of my chefs,” Peer said. “He kind of portrays what most of them are like.”

Peer said he’s wanted to become a chef ever since he was little and first learned how to cook eggs.

While he was a culinary student at Triplett Tech, his instructor, Paje Cross, advised him to look into the apprenticeship program at Steamboat Springs. As he was researching the program online, he stumbled across the Broadmoor’s program.

Peer said he enjoys snowboarding on Colorado’s fresh powder in his free time. Recently, he was shredding the slopes at the Keystone Resort.

In August, he’ll begin his second year as an apprentice.

“They say the first year usually tends to be the hardest all-around, more nerve-wracking,” he said. “It’s almost like the feeling of your first year of high school. The second year, I’ll know my way around more and feel more comfortable.”

When Peer graduates, he said he would like to cook for Les Cochon d’Or, an American and French restaurant in Hot Springs, or at a restaurant in Denver.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com