Sean Faris, General Manager
I moved to Bozeman from sunny San Diego, California to lose myself in my obsession with fly fishing, fly tying, backpacking and oh yes, school. Over the next 17 years, I’ve gained a significant understanding and appreciation for more than just the food and beverages I serve and stand behind today. I’m truly passionate about the heart of our business, which is the service experience, where the deepest satisfaction felt by our guests comes from the energy we provide. We perform at our best in good company, and at Ale Works we share more of ourselves than just our great food and beer.
Dawn Brown, Human Resource/Office Manager
I moved to Bozeman from Dubois, Pennsylvania and I’m in awe of the great home and community I found in Bozeman. I started my path in restaurant management back in 2003 with Mackenzie River Pizza company. I joined the Ale Works management team in 2007 and have been thoroughly enjoying being part of this pulsing, fast-paced, energetic atmosphere ever since. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is such a big part of the Bozeman community. Outside of Ale Works, I’m on my bike, in my ski boots and spending time adventuring with my daughter and husband.
Dan Good, Service Manager
I was lucky enough to be raised in Bozeman, and have been consequently thoroughly corrupted by all Southwest Montana has to offer! That 'corruption' permeates deep in my life, from my love of adventure and the outdoors to travel, people, music, art, and sharing food, beverages and time with family and friends. I’m blessed now to share my experiences with my wife Erin, my little girl Hadley, and our most recent addition my little dude, Brayden. I am honored to be on the Montana Ale Works team and to work for the greatest business in town, with the best customers, best environment, best food and beer, and by far… the best staff. To have a job loving what you do, in a place you appreciate deep in your soul, working for a company that cares so much for its customers, staff, and community… one couldn't ask for much more. Except maybe a little more time (a lifetime?) to share all Montana has to offer with my kids. We’re working on it.
Anthony Calkins, Executive Chef
My goal is to make the restaurant a better place while keeping it fun and enjoyable for guests and employees alike. I’m passionate about food and wake up looking forward to coming into the Ale Works every day, striving to come up with new and exciting specials while helping develop and grow the people around me, and hopefully the guests I don’t even see!
Mike Welsh, Sous Chef
I’ve been working in restaurant kitchens since I was 12, starting in my family’s two restaurants in Wibaux, Montana. I moved to Bozeman in 2009 – chasing my girlfriend Becca, pure and simple! – but also I was tired of all the old school food I was cooking in the Eastern part of the state and wanted more. I love the culinary quality and diversity that Bozeman offers, and working with our local vendors and product is one of my favorite aspects of my job. Take our local Wagyu blend burger. At our volume, I think it's amazing that we can source all of our burger locally. The dedication and forward thinking it takes to pull that off is a representation of what this organization is about. Or take our kitchen. Working here is a full-court press, mentally and physically, day in and day out. It's challenging and only a certain type of person is cut out for it. It takes a phenomenal work ethic and dedication. It starts at the top with upper management and goes all the way to dishers and food runners (who are freaking amazing, btw!). Hiring on at Montana Ale Works has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my food service career. It's that dedication and work ethic at the core of our kitchen that allows us to do great things.
Kelby Barber, Floor Manager
I moved to Bozeman with my family in 1988, driving through the Yellowstone wildfire to get here, and I've been here ever since, witnessing this small mountain town grow into what it is today. As part of the Ale Works team since 2006, I became a support staff manager in 2014. Working at the best and busiest restaurant in the state is one of the best parts of my job, and the most important thing I have learned about being a manager so far is to trust my fellow managers, who are all so experienced and have taught me how they do things but are also helping me develop my own management style. I look forward to continually improving myself by learning around the clock, being more assertive, and leading by example to pass on my dedication to great service by supporting and guiding our staff to new levels.
In addition to my fellow managers, the biggest influences in my life are my Mom, my Grandmother, and my fiancé, Elesia, whose laugh makes me laugh. Each of these women have made me a better person inside and out, helping me become the kind of manager I want to be. When I'm not at Ale Works, I'm golfing, skiing, traveling, or spending time with my friends, family, and my awesome dogs, Sellasie and Bailey.
Hunter Durgan, Sous Chef
Seven years ago, I wandered into Ale Works on a Monday afternoon to pick up an application for a prep cook position and, without knowing at the time, changed to course of my professional career. While studying History at Montana State, I took the initial steps that would eventually lead me--quite happily--away from law school and throw me headlong into my current passion for good food, great wine, and the beautiful chaos that is the professional kitchen. After graduating MSU, I left Bozeman and returned home to Whitefish, MT, where I had the incredible opportunity to hone my skills under Chef Andy Blanton of Cafe Kandahar.
Growing up in Northwest Montana, and blessed with very active parents, has given me a keen appreciation for all the Montana outdoors has to offer. As a lifelong soccer player, skier, and river enthusiast, I'm excited to explore the bounty that is the Gallatin Valley and beyond.
I'm thrilled to be a part of Montana Ale Works, and the Bozeman community, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us as a restaurant.
Aaron Brittingham, Sous Chef
Born and raised in New England, I got my start as a prep cook at Connecticut's Aqua Turf Club. After graduating from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI in 2007 I found myself bored and antsy, and applied to work as a cook in Yellowstone Park for the summer of 2010. One of the best decisions of my life. It was there that I rekindled my love of the outdoors and found my true passion for cooking.
Sarah Schwendeman, Chief Financial Officer
I am a Montanan, born and raised, and a Montanan at heart. I’m in love with all the state has to offer: hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, backpacking, family life, small towns, farming communities and of course, Yellowstone Park.
With 20 years’ experience in finance and accounting, I've worked for Ale Works in some capacity since day one. Sometimes I wonder why I'm so invested, but it’s when we’re navigating complicated issues that I realize I’m drawn to the set of values the company's culture is based upon, and the owners’ unwillingness to waiver from that standard. The commitment to exceptional customer service is constant and feedback is welcomed from all corners. Decision-making is a little more complicated that way, but more gratifying as well.
When I’m not feeding my “geek-side” by crunching numbers, helping develop systems and preparing financial information, I'm tending to family– my son Lucas, daughter Dakota, and husband Fred, a successful Bozeman Orthodontist – and making time to ski, bike, swim and challenge myself as a novice recreational triathlete (...just shaking the middle-aged flab while having a little fun!!)
I love the challenge of helping this company drive good, sustainable business decisions, but I think I’m a good fit because I really love a good beer, good food, and good company, and that’s what Ale Works is all about.
Roth Jordan, Operational Partner & Corporate Chef
Roth grew up in his Grandma's rural Alabama kitchen where, he recalls, “chicken stock was always on the stove and everybody cleaned their plates.” But it was by heading West to escape the South’s heat and humidity that Roth learned to cook professionally, at Buck’s T-4 in Big Sky, Montana, where he met his future wife Kathryn, a talented pastry chef, who encouraged him to take his culinary aspirations seriously.
The two left Montana (reluctantly, vowing to return) in search of total immersion. Roth learned multiple course, old-school French cuisine in Vermont (picking garden produce, herbs and edible flowers for nightly service), attended New England Culinary Institute and took an internship in the US Virgin Islands under chef Ted Robinson, who almost immediately made Roth his sous chef. “He wasn't the easiest guy to work for, but he taught me what it is to be passionate about food. He breathed, dreamed, obsessed about food twenty-four hours a day,” recalls Roth, who would move on to a three-year stint as Executive Chef at St John's renowned Stone Terrace. "By the time I left the islands, I’d spent eight straight years paying my dues,” says Roth, who was primed to return to Big Sky Country.
Within a year, Roth was Executive Chef of Montana Ale Works, working to upgrade the menu of the highest volume dinner-only establishment in Montana. “What a daunting task lay ahead,” Roth recalls. "We had to start over, change the mechanics, change the culture, and create the passion. It took years to get where I was proud of the food we were making.”
Roth considers the culinary reinvention of Ale Works his proudest achievement– aside from the birth of daughter Karly in ’06– and it led to his being made partner in 2008. “We created an environment for professionals,” he says, “and we do what no one else is able to in Bozeman, Montana. When it comes to passion, pride, talent and desire, I'd put my guys up against any kitchen, anywhere."
Dedicated to sustainably grown, locally-sourced products (always a challenge in chilly Montana) Roth brines and smokes his own meat, sous-vides locally-raised roasts and legs of lamb and insists on making everything from scratch. “We might do pulled pork tamales, duck confit cassoulet, paella, shrimp & grits and a shepherd's pie all as specials, all in the same night,” says Roth of the range of flavors and price points for which his kitchen is renowned. This while serving a 50-item menu, and likely a private six-course wine pairing in the Grill Room with a 40-top party Poolside. “We’ll feed twelve hundred customers a night, ridiculous by anybody's standards, with nothing refired and everybody leaving happy! It’s just a direct result of all of us taking pride in what we do and always striving to do it better.”
Roth's Grandma would be proud. War eagle.
Mark Taché & Christin Cooper-Taché, Founding Partners
Mark and Christin co-founded Montana Ale Works with Pete Hendrickson, seven years after “Pedro” walked in the door of their wildly popular rookie restaurant venture, MacKenzie River Pizza Co., then a wood-fired, handcrafted pizza emporium exploding Bozeman’s restaurant scene with its artisan pies, rustic hand-hewn ambiance and passionate service. Together they shaped the unique Mackenzie River culture of the '90's.
Their personal friendship and professional partnership led to the founding in 2000 of Montana Ale Works, which spearheaded the revitalization of Bozeman's historic East End, raising the bar yet again for casual upscale dining in the Gallatin Valley. Now a partnership of four, including executive chef Roth Jordan, Mark and Christin influence and steer decisions from employee culture and training, to marketing, management, menu development and community partnerships.
It's a long way from the ski hills of their youth. Christin, a two-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist in alpine skiing (giant slalom, Sarajevo, 1984) and triple World Championship medalist in 1982, was raised in Ketchum Idaho, and is a longtime expert analyst for network coverage of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup skiing. Mark competed for eight years internationally on the World Cup Tour, including two World Championship teams, and seven years on the US Pro Tour. He moved into sports management and restaurant ownership upon retiring. The couple splits their time between Bozeman and Mark’s hometown of Aspen, Colorado, where the two are ambassadors for the Aspen Skiing Company, avid all-season mountaineers, and coaches at Taché Racing, the high-performance clinics they founded in the late ‘80’s, now run by Mark’s brother Michael.
“It’s wild to see where we ended up,” says Mark. “Restaurants weren’t part of any grand scheme, but coming off the US Ski Team, we wanted to see if what we'd learned at the highest leel of sports had any practical application in the real world. We knew a lot about team-building, work ethic, the importance of systems, roles, goals and high standards, and we appreciated the teamwork aspect of great food and service."
"Ale Works is a jewel and a work in progress,” adds Christin. “We’re not afraid to admit mistakes and are always striving to stay ahead of the curve, an ethic we got from skiing. And we listen to people who know more than us, which is pretty much everyone we surround ourselves with,” she laughs.
“Developing, inspiring and guiding people in their work is what we’re all about,” says Mark. "It’s an incredibly rewarding adventure.”
Peter "Pedro" Hendrickson, Founding Partner
“I’ve spent my entire working life prepping, cooking, serving, managing, and creating restaurants, always with an inspired, infectious enthusiasm and passion for outstanding service, atmosphere, food, and drink,” says Hendrickson.
At age 30, "Pedro" escaped the grind of restaurant work in his home town of Indianapolis for the lure of the then-granola/ski bum/cow town of Bozeman, Montana, and after a brief stint on a cattle ranch, dove into another 13 years of opening and expanding other people’s restaurants before deciding it was time to do his own thing with friends and partners, Mark and Christin Taché.
It was Pedro who discovered the 8000 sq. ft. abandoned railroad freighthouse on the sleepy east end of Main Street in the late '90's and in 2000, Montana Ale Works was born. "Bringing in Roth in '08 gave us additional layers of culinary and operational brilliance," he says. "The results have been as amazing as they have been rewarding.”
Now, whether it’s eating and drinking his way across the country with his sweetheart looking to improve the Ale Works experience (or create a new one), helping friends on Montana and Arizona cattle ranches, recycling vintage cars or setting records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in his hand-built 1928 Dodge roadster, “I carry that same passion, inspiration, and enthusiasm into everything I do… and hope to do it for a very long time!"