Owners

Roth Jordan

MANAGING PARTNER / CORPORATE CHEF

Raised in rural Alabama, Roth recalls his grandma’s chicken stock as always on the stove, but it was only when he headed West and into the kitchen of Buck’s T-4 Ranch in Big Sky, that Roth started taking his latent passion for cooking seriously. It was here that he met his future wife Kathryn, a talented pastry chef, who encouraged him in his culinary aspirations.

Together, they left Montana so Roth could attend the New England Culinary Institute, and and practice old-school French cuisine in Vermont, before traveling to the US Virgin Islands to work under chef and mentor Ted Robinson, who “taught me what it is to be passionate about food”. A three-year stint at the renowned Stone Terrace on St John as Executive Chef, and Roth and Kat were ready to return to Big Sky Country.

Roth was hired as Ale Works Executive Chef in October 2005, and he immediately started upgrading the menu and the standards of the kitchen. It was a daunting task that included changing the mechanics and the culture of the kitchen, “and creating the passion. We turned it into an environment for professionals.” Roth considers the culinary reinvention of Ale Works as his proudest achievement “aside from the birth of my kids, Karly, Tessa and Warren, of course.”

Roth’s leadership and dedication led to an offer of partnership in 2008, and a promotion to Corporate Chef/Managing Partner in 2014. Roth oversaw our million dollar kitchen renovation in 2016 and currently mentors and oversees our Executive Chef and kitchen crew as they brine, smoke and sous-vide locally-raised meats and make every sauce, soup, dressing and dessert we serve from scratch.

“We might do pulled pork tamales, duck confit cassoulet, paella, and shepherd's pie all in the same night, in addition to our 50-item menu. We’ll feed 1,500 customers some summer nights, ridiculous by any standard, with everybody leaving happy! It’s a direct result of taking pride in what we do, and always striving to do it better.”

Mark Taché & Christin Cooper-Taché

FOUNDING PARTNERS

Montana Ale Works was founded by Mark and Christin Taché (with Pete Hendrickson and Steve Shuel) seven years after the couple founded MacKenzie River Pizza Co., a then-handcrafted, wood-fired pizza place that exploded Bozeman’s downtown restaurant scene with artisan pies, hand-hewn ambiance, and a passionate service culture.

The community's need for a casual-upscale, restaurant, bar and gathering place led to the birth of Montana Ale Works in 2000, spearheading the revitalization of Bozeman's historic East End, and raising the bar yet again for casual dining in the Gallatin Valley.

The Taché’s role is to steer conceptual design and growth, guide employee training and management decisions, govern marketing and promotions (Christin), and finances (Mark), and collaborate with Roth and Sean on menu design and development. Their philosophy is grounded in teamwork and open, honest communication gleaned from their lifetime in sports. Both are former world-class ski racers.

Christin is a 1984 Olympic silver medalist 1982 triple World Championship medalist, five-time World Cup winner, six-time Natl champion & former network expert analyst. Mark is an eight-year U.S. Ski Team veteran who raced on the World Cup tour and in two World Championships before racing head-to-head for seven years on the US Pro Tour.

“Restaurants weren’t part of any grand scheme,” says Mark, of their four concepts, three in Montana, one in California. “We wanted to see if what we'd learned in sports had any practical application in the real world. We knew the value of systems, of team-building, and of high goals and standards. And from our travel, we appreciated the solace and fellowship of great food and service.”

“It’s a work in progress,” says Christin. “Staying ahead of the curve is an ethic we got from skiing. 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 is what we’re all about,” adds Mark. “It’s an incredibly rewarding adventure.”

Sean Faris

MANAGING PARTNER /GENERAL MANAGER / DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Sean moved to Bozeman from San Diego In 1994, to lose himself in fly fishing, fly tying, backpacking and—school. But the restaurant business entered the picture as well, and for the next 17 years, Sean went all in, first as a server and then managing various MacKenzie River locations – including a righteous stint as General Manager of the locally-beloved MacKenzie River Roadhouse in Gallatin Gateway.

In 2006, Sean joined the Ale Works management team and was promoted to General Manager in 2013. His peerless work ethic, integrity, good nature and professional chops earned him an invitation to join the ownership group in July 2016, when he became a Managing Partner while continuing to lead the FOH management team as GM. In 2018, he was promoted to Director of Operations and oversaw a massive renovation of our central bar, while remaining open to guests.

Sean now proudly commands and leads – with humor and purpose – a cohesive team of 11 managers and up to 140 Ale Workers. “I’m truly passionate about the heart of our business, which is the service experience. Our guests deserve our good energy, and they respond to it, as much as the great food and drink we serve. I am a lucky man,” he says with a smile.. “I look forward each day to bringing out the best in our staff, and developing them as professionals. It is an honor to work with a passionate group of people, and be a leader of this team.”

Away from work, Sean’s two beautiful children, Finn and Marley, keep him conjuring adventures, though whether the benefits accrue more to the children or the father is an open question. “My kids help me justify my obsession for throwing and tying flies for fish, and camping somewhere near the water containing those fish. I’m squeezing these moments for all I can. It is my personal duty to teach my son to love his mother, protect his sister and get up early enough in the morning to go on adventures with me!”

 

Leadership

Aaron Brittingham

EXECUTIVE CHEF

Born and raised in New England, Aaron attended Johnson & Wales Culinary School before heading West in 2007 to cook in Yellowstone National Park, a move that rekindled a love of the outdoors and his true passion: cooking. “One of the best decisions of my life!” Aaron recalls. “I thought about recipes and flavor combos when I went to sleep, and spent my off time exploring one of the most beautiful places in our country!”

Seeking stability from the seasonal cooking lifestyle Aaron landed in Bozeman in 2014 as an Ale Works prep cook. Before long, he was AM Sous Chef Manager, then Executive Sous, which meant managing the prep crew and the line while expediting at the Exec. Chef’s side.

In 2017, Aaron was made Executive Chef, having proven beyond a doubt that he had the kitchen chops and organizational skills to execute under pressure, guiding a high-octane professional crew. “I have a great team, both in the front and the back of the house, that I count on. I am very excited to see what the future holds.”

Brad Harris

BAR MANAGER

Rochester, NY-born but Southern-bred in Roanoke, VA, Brad headed West in the ‘90's to be ski bum. Funding his Jackson Hole ski jones with catering and bartending led to 15 years as a mason, before founding a successful masonry company with his brother in Bozeman.

When it was time for a career change, Brad set his sights on the Ale Works bar. “I was one of many locals who loved this place for its great beer selection and top quality food and service.” Brad started bartending in 2013, and by 2015, was our Bar Manager.

Running Bozeman’s busiest bar includes building and nurturing partnerships with local craft brewers, distillers & distributors, while offering solid direction and positive energy to a large bar staff. It’s all in Brad’s wheelhouse, as is an appreciation for “serving up creative cocktails, seeking out great approachable wines, and offering the best craft beers the region has to offer. I like to help people have a good time,” he laughs.

Brad also likes skiing, fishing, biking, rafting, and enjoying the outdoors with his lovely wife, Amy, and their two dogs, Dixie and Ruby. “This truly is the last best place.”

 

Justin Banis

EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF

Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, Justin was a food, culture and world travel fan by age 20. “Seeing people in third-world countries who have very little, but are smiling and happy with what they do have, that taught me a lot,” he says.

When Ale Works opened in 2000, Justin came in regularly with his family, usually ordering the Smokestack burger with pepper-parmesan fries. As a rookie line cook four years later, he started preparing those fries himself and “just immediately felt at home.” He was promoted to lead kitchen supervisor before the travel bug returned, and he took off on his motorcycle for a few years of inspiration, returning full of ideas to the Ale Works fold, where he has thrived ever since.

Promoted to Sous Chef in 2017, Justin was made an Executive Sous Chef Manager just a year later.

World travel aside, Justin is a Bozemanite through and through. He loves to ski, hike, ride his BMW motorcycle, and hang in the outdoors.

Rebecca Kurnick

ASSISTANT MANAGER / SUSTAINABILITY COORDINATOR

Born in the tiny town of Lovell, Maine, ‘Becca’ arrived in Montana as a State Nordic Champion. After a brief stint on the MSU Ski Team she dove into school, work and a growing love for river rafting and kayaking.

Having helped her Dad cook for guests at age 12 in a Maine Bed & Breakfast, Becca was an old hand when she started in our MAW kitchen in 2007, where she would be training future managers before the age of 20. She left to attend school, graduating from MSU with a B.S in Soil Science, before returning to the high-paced atmosphere of restaurant life, applying newly aquired sustainable food production knowledge in the role of MAW’s first-ever Sustainability Coordinator.

While working full-time, Becca went back to MSU to gain her MS in Agriculture Education, and when not running shifts as a floor manager, works with our waitstaff, kitchen, and local partner ranches, farms, and purveyors to develop and expand MAW’s role in ecologically sound food production. “I believe that if we save the soil we can save the world!” To that end, Becca serves on the board of the local non-profit, Western Sustainability Exchange.

Becca lives with her husband Ryan, and their dog, June.

Mike Padget

A.M. SOUS CHEF

One of six Padget kids born and raised in Billings, MT, it was brother Damian who sparked Mike’s interest in cooking and the magic of building flavors, and who passed on “super-ninja knife skills” to his younger bro, preparing him to build his skillset as a prep cook, sauté, and bartender at renowned Billings steakhouses.

A cornerstone of the Ale Works kitchen since 2009, Mike has been crushing sauces, dressings, soups, and nightly specials for almost ten years while helping train a crew of food prep maestros to our exacting specs and standards. “From the time Mike started with us, he stood out for his tireless dedication, food knowledge and cooking skills,” says managing partner, Roth Jordan, who adds, “It’s dizzying to watch him around a stove, or with a knife in his hands. Mike does the work of three people. He’s the king of multitasking. ”

Promoted to AM Sous Chef Manager in early 2018, Mike has thrived teaching new skills to others “to grow their abilities and food passions,” says Mike. “I take a ton of pride in working here. We are always looking to improve ourselves and our company. I feel challenged every day, and it’s great to be surrounded by others who thrive with that.”

Mike also loves rock climbing, snowboarding, and riding BMX bikes with his son Daylan, whom he raises as a single parent. Daughter Addison lives with Mom in Missoula. 

 

Ashley Coulthard

FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER

Ashley joined Ale Works as a support staffer in 2016, but within a year, was a Lead server and by 2018, a front of the house manager.

His British father and Aussie mother emigrated from Sydney, Australia to upstate New York when Ashley was 8, and a love of skiing and whitewater rafting was born. A job out west (with 150 days of skiing) sealed the deal. The Western ski bum lifestyle was on.

When Ashley discovered Bozeman he was armed with a solid work ethic ingrained from his father, whose “drive for excellence and accountability taught me a lot about hard work paying off.” Ashley spent two years managing a ski repair shop and juggling restaurant jobs, including Ale Works disher, busser, host, events staffer, server, and finally manager.

Ashley credits the work ethic and drive of his coworkers as inspirations. “Everyone pushes themselves to improve every day inside and out of the restaurant. But my favorite thing is how the entire community is connected to the restaurant in some way, shape, or form. Also, I find joy in full bellies, smiling faces and great stories!”

Ashley loves paragliding, skiing, running rivers, hiking, biking, hunting, gardening and spending time in his shop, fixing and maintaining tools, cars and machines. In short, enjoying life in paradise.

Adam Rockholt

SOUS CHEF MANAGER

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, it was at University of Memphis, while preparing to join the ROTC, that Adam’s Grandma suggested he take his cooking talents seriously instead. He did, pivoting to culinary school to pursue his real passion.

His introduction to fine dining was as a line cook in Memphis before two years in the sustainable food movement in Orlando, Florida, led Adam onward to Boston MA, where one of Adam’s many culinary mentors, Michael Chandler, would put Adam to work in multiple restaurants before inviting him to sous chef at a $21 million operation, Top of the Hub in the heart of the city. Here, he would oversee 55 employees across three kitchens.

Exec. Chef Aaron Brittingham felt an immediate connection upon meeting Adam, who applied to Ale Works, looking to move West. “He jumped right in and started to help out on the line immediately,” Aaron recalls of that first interview. “He was really intuitive, and knew what to do.” Managing partner Sean Faris puts it this way, “Our kitchen is a constantly evolving force of passion and energy. We are stoked to add Adam’s skills and professionalism to our already powerful mix.”

With wife Alyson, and young daughter Noelle, Adam is ready for his next chapter. “I am excited to raise my daughter in nature so that she knows where her food comes from and what it means to live off the land.”

Dawn Brown

OFFICE MANAGER/
HR DIRECTOR, SHRM-SCP

Dawn moved to Bozeman from Dubois, PA in 1998 to attend college and work on her ski goggle tan. While pursuing an MSU psychology degree, Dawn waited tables at MacKenzie River Pizza Company, working her way smoothly from server to lead to trainer and into management.

Joining Ale Works as a front of the house manager in 2007, she would trade night shifts for day when she became a working mother, defining our first-ever HR/Office Manager role, a wide ranging position that includes all aspects of employee HR, plus coordination of special events and community partnerships. “It is so rewarding to help non-profits reach their fundraising goals while our team executes amazing events with passion and attention to detail.”

In 2018, Dawn earned her SHRM-SCP certification, a senior level certification issued by the Society of Human Resources Professionals. With her extensive guest service experience, and years of immersion in Ale Works culture, Dawn is uniquely qualified to spread the love.

As a full-time working mother and Human Resources professional, Dawn makes time to bike, ski, randonée, and chase mythical creatures in the mountains with husband Dave, and beautiful daughters, Ingrid and Sage, to whom she is raising as strong, independent, empathetic, happy girls.