Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.

Career and Education Opportunities for Chefs in Denver, Colorado

If you want to be a chef, the Denver, Colorado area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 2,530 people are currently employed as chefs in Colorado. By 2016, this is expected to grow 18% to 3,000 people employed. This is better than the national trend for chefs, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.2% over the next eight years. Chefs generally direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods.

Chefs earn about $19 per hour or $39,700 per year on average in Colorado and about $18 hourly or $38,770 yearly on average nationally. Chefs earn more than people working in the category of Cooking generally in Colorado and more than people in the Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: food and beverage director, pastry chef, and cook.

There are sixty-four schools of higher education in the Denver area, including three within twenty-five miles of Denver where you can get a degree to start your career as a chef. Given that the most common education level for chefs is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a chef if you already have a high school diploma.


Chef video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chefs direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. They also may plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

Chefs order or requisition food and other supplies needed to insure efficient operation. They also instruct cooks and other staff in the preparation and presentation of food. Equally important, chefs have to check the quantity and quality of received products. They are often called upon to check the quality of raw and cooked food products to insure that standards are met. They are expected to inspect supplies and work areas to insure conformance to established standards. Finally, chefs monitor sanitation practices to insure that employees follow standards and regulations.

Every day, chefs are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chefs to analyze recipes to assign prices to menu items, on the basis of food and overhead costs. They are often called upon to meet with sales representatives so as to negotiate prices and order supplies. They also manage equipment purchases and repairs. They are sometimes expected to recruit and hire staff, including cooks and other kitchen staff. Somewhat less frequently, chefs are also expected to formulate and supervise the food preparation and cooking efforts of multiple kitchens or restaurants in an establishment such as a restaurant chain or hotel.

Chefs sometimes are asked to record production and operational data on specified forms. and meet with patrons to consider menus for special occasions such as weddings and banquets. And finally, they sometimes have to supervise and direct efforts of cooks and staff working on food preparation.

Like many other jobs, chefs must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Denver include:

  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.


Johnson & Wales University-Denver - Denver, CO

Johnson & Wales University-Denver, 7150 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80220. Johnson & Wales University-Denver is a small university located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,454 students and an admission rate of 76%. Johnson & Wales University-Denver has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, associate's degree which graduated 50 students in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated 151 and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Emily Griffith Opportunity School - Denver, CO

Emily Griffith Opportunity School, 1250 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80204-2197. Emily Griffith Opportunity School is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 2,148 students. Emily Griffith Opportunity School has a less than one year program in Culinary Arts/Chef Training which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Colorado - Denver, CO

The Art Institute of Colorado, 1200 Lincoln Street, Denver, CO 80203-2983. The Art Institute of Colorado is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,069 students and an admission rate of 45%. The Art Institute of Colorado has 2 areas of study related to Chef. They are:

  • Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated four and fourteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Culinary Arts/Chef Training, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated fifteen and sixty-nine students respectively in 2008.


Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.


Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado photo by David Shankbone

Denver is located in Denver County, Colorado. It has a population of over 598,707, which has grown by 7.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Denver, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Denver are priced at $223,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, eight hundred thirty-seven new homes were constructed in Denver, down from 1,215 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Denver are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 34.5% of Denver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Denver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.0%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Episcopal Church.

Denver is home to the J F Kennedy Municipal Golf Course and the North Marston Filtration Plant as well as Cheesman Park and Bear Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alameda Square Shopping Center, Boulevard Shopping Center and Brentwood Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Denver can choose from Embassy Suites Hotel Denver Downtown, Intown Suites Aurora and Denver Marriott City Center for temporary stays in the area.