Who We Are

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Anna Yardley, General Manager

Growing up in a small town in northern Michigan, Anna started working in restaurants at the age of 15, and continued to hone her craft while earning her degree in Public Relations from Central Michigan University in 2007. After a few years of corporate America and weekend bartending, Anna was ready for a change of scenery. The mountains were calling!

Anna took a road trip to Big Sky, Montana which effectively ended when she took the role of managing the renowned Big Sky institution Buck’s T-4 Restaurant & Lodge. It was here that Anna recognized that hospitality was her true passion. “I have always thrived in the restaurant environment. I feel truly blessed to blend my management skills with my love of food and good company.”

In 2013, Anna moved from Big Sky to Bozeman, falling in love with all the community has to offer, including Ale Works, where she came on board as a front-of-the-house manager in October, 2015 and earned a serious promotion to General Manager in early 2018. “I look forward to growing as a leader. Ale Works has an amazing reputation, community presence, and positive vibe. I want in on that!” Anna enjoys traveling, live music, the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Aaron Brittingham, Executive Chef

Born and raised in New England, Aaron built his knife skills as an entry-level prep cook before attending Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, RI, In 2017, Aaron made “one of the best decisions of my life!” by applying to cook in Yellowstone National Park, rekindled his love of the outdoors and his true passion for cooking. “I learned something every day from great chefs who really cared. I started reading about food again and thinking about recipes and flavor combinations when I went to sleep, and I was spending my off time exploring one of the most beautiful places in our country!”

Aaron landed in Bozeman with girlfriend Melissa in 2014, seeking stability from the seasonal cooking lifestyle. He applied for AM prep chef and found a restaurant “full of passionate people, with a team of encouraging managers.” In a few months, he was promoted to Lead Cook, and then AM Sous Chef/Manager, a position newly created and perfectly matched to his skillset. Aaron handled the immense responsibility of ordering inventory, managing the prep crew and ensuring proper execution of recipes. Incredible leadership led Aaron to Executive Sous Chef where he continued to manage the prep crew while managing the line, and expediting at the Executive Chef’s side.

In October of 2017, Aaron assumed the role of Executive Chef. Thanks to his leadership skills and ability to execute at a high level, under pressure, while maintaining a professional yet inspiring environment.
“I was incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to run the kitchen of such an incredible Bozeman institution. I have a great team that I can count on, both in the front and the back of the house and am very excited to see what the future holds.”

Brad Harris, Bar Manager

Northern born (Rochester, NY) and Southern-bred (Roanoke, VA), Brad followed his brother out West to ski bum in the ‘90's in Jackson Hole. Brief stints in the ski industry, catering, and bartending, led to15 years as a mason, and founding a masonry company with his brother in Bozeman.

When the construction industry slowed, it was time for a career change. Brad set his sights on Ale Works, which had long been his ‘go-to’ restaurant. “Prior to being hired on as a bartender, I was one of many locals who loved this place for its great beer selection and top quality food and service.” In 2015, after two and a half years behind the bar, Brad’s talent, positive energy and leadership skills were rewarded with a promotion to Bar Manager.

Inspiring a large staff and managing the busiest bar in Bozeman are just some of the challenges Brad has taken on with his trademark enthusiasm. “I look forward to serving up creative cocktails, seeking out great approachable wines, and offering the best beers the region has to offer.”

Outside of work, Brad can be found with his beautiful wife, Amy, skiing, fishing, biking, rafting, enjoying the beauty of Southwest Montana with their two dogs, Dixie and Ruby. “This truly is the last best place.”

Justin Banis, Executive Sous Chef

Justin was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana. By the age of 20 he’d been to Austria, the Philippines, Switzerland, England, and spent a year in Germany with a host family, immersing himself in the culture. “I love traveling. Seeing people in a third-world country who have very little food, money or clothing, but are smiling and happy with what they do have, that taught me a lot.”
So did his parents, whose strengths in the kitchen included Mom’s fresh- baked bread, and Dad’s specialty: Bauernfrüstuck, or German farmer’s breakfast, a family Christmas staple. When Ale Works opened in 2000, “My family and I would come in pretty regularly. I always had the Smokestack burger with pepper-parmesan fries.” As a rookie Ale Works line cook in 2004, Justin started preparing those fabled fries himself. The work was grueling and a challenge, but “I just immediately felt at home,” he says, working his way up to lead kitchen supervisor before the travel bug returned, and Justin took off on his motorcycle.

This budding culinarian spent time in the culinary mecca of Portland, Oregon, which inspired his return to the world of the kitchen, and specifically Ale Works in 2015, where Justin has thrived yet again in this fast-paced, team-oriented work environment. In spring of 2017 Justin made Sous Chef, and a year later was promoted to Executive Sous Chef Manager.

Despite all his travelling, Justin considers himself a Bozemanite through and through. He loves to ski, hike, ride his BMW motorcycle, and hang with his Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix, Sophie.

 

Rebecca Kurnick, Assistant Manager/Sustainability Coordinator

Born in the tiny town of Lovell, Maine, Becca arrived in Montana with a Nordic Skiing State Championship. After a brief stint on the MSU Ski Team she dove into school, work and a developing a love for rafting and kayaking.

Having started her restaurant career at the age of 12 (assisting her Chef Dad at a Maine B&B), Becca came to work in the MAW kitchen in 2007, and would find herself training future managers before the age of 20! She left for a while to focus on school and find work in farming and ranching before graduating from MSU with a B.S in Soil Science. She applied her food production and restaurant knowledge selling produce to Ale Works as a Quality Foods Distributing rep before returning to the high paced and fun atmosphere of restaurant life, this time with a career-minded approach, snagging the role of MAW’s first-ever Sustainability Coordinator.

When not helping with day to day operations, Becca works with our staff, our kitchen, local ranches, farms, and purveyors to develop and expand MAW’s role in ecologically sound food production across the state. Currently, Becca is working towards her Master’s of Science in Agriculture Education – “I enthusiastically believe that if we save the soil we can save the  world!”– and sits on the board of local non-profit, Western Sustainability Exchange.

Becca lives in Bozeman with her husband Ryan and their dog June.

Mike Padget A.M Sous Chef

One of six siblings born and raised in Billings, MT, it was Mike’s older brother Damian who sparked Mike’s interest in cooking and passed on his “super-ninja knife skills,” and the magic of building flavors. Two years as a prep cook at the Petroleum Club of the Crowne Plaza in downtown Billings led to a stint atJake’s Steakhouse where Mike added sauté and bartending chops to his resumé.

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

Mike was promoted to AM Sous Chef Manager in early 2018. “I love teaching attainable new skills that can be passed on to others to grow their abilities and food passions,” says Mike.“I take a ton of pride in working here,” says Mike. “We are always looking to improve ourselves and our company. When I start doing something, my goal is to be the best at it. I feel challenged every day at Ale Works, and it’s great to be surrounded by others who thrive with that.”

In addition to being a Certified Kitchen Ninja, Mike also loves rock climbing, snowboarding, and riding BMX bikes with his son Daylan, whom he is raising as a single parent and trying to be a model father. His daughter Addison lives with her Mom in Missoula.  

Ashley Coulthard, Front of House Manager

Ashley joined Ale Works as a support staffer in 2016, but didn’t stay put long.  Soon he was plying guests as a star server with his signature sincerity and professionalism. Within a year, Ashley was a Lead Server and by early 2018, a front of the house manager.

Ashley’s English father and Australian mother raised Ashley to age 8 in Sydney, Australia before immigrating to upstate New York, where his love of the outdoors blossomed to include skiing and whitewater rafting. When a post-high school job in Alta, Utah included 150 days of skiing a year, it was clear that the Western ski bum lifestyle suited him and Ashley soon made his way to Bozeman.
Ashley credits his father’s solid work ethic, whose.”drive for excellence and accountability taught me a lot about being a self-starter, and about hard work paying off.” Hard work for Ashley was: ski shop work by day – including two years managing the tune and repair shop at Chalet Sports– and restaurant jobs by night, including disher, busser, banquet and catering staff, host, server, and finally Ale Works manager.

“I enjoy Ale Works because of the work ethic and pure drive of my coworkers... who push themselves to improve each and every night, inside and out of the restaurant. My favorite part though is that the entire community is in some way, shape, or form connected with the restaurant. Also, I find joy in happy guests with full bellies, smiling faces and great stories!”
Ashley’s bucket list includes earning his paraglider’s license, and continuing to pursue the Montana lifestyle – from skiing to floating rivers, hiking, biking, and waterfowl hunting. With a shop to fix and maintain tools, cars and machines, and a garden out back, Ashley loves life in paradise. “I’m a novice chef, but really enjoy cooking especially with meat I harvest, and food I grow in the yard.”

Adam Rockholt, Sous Chef

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, it was while Adam was attending University of Memphis, and preparing to join the ROTC, that his Grandma took him aside and suggested he take his cooking talents seriously. He listened, pivoting to enroll in culinary school at Southwest Community College, just down the road. It was then that Adam began pursuing his real passion.

His mentors were many, starting with Chef/Owner Ryan Trimm and Chef de Cuisine Brady Bryan at Sweetgrass, his introduction to fine dining as a line cook . “I had to fight to keep my job by excelling in preparation and execution,” he recalls, adding that the challenge fueled his “drive to create, grow, learn, and achieve”. Next up: Orlando, Florida where a two year immersion in the sustainable food movement led to Boston, and the high-volume, upscale-casual Grafton Street Pub & Grill. 
While working the line in Boston, Adam met another of his many mentors, Michael Chandler, for whom Adam worked at several reputable Boston area restaurants before accepting the invitation to be his sous chef at Top of the Hub, a $21 million per year operation in the heart of the city. “Michael’s passion is all consuming. He gave me so many tools that have led me to be the chef I am today.” Adam oversaw 55 kitchen employees across 3 kitchens at the Hub, learning leadership, time management, and quality control skills at high volume. Describing his leadership, Adam says he gets “straight to the point, I’m assertive but friendly, kind but strong. I don’t sugar coat things”. That includes the need to heed the call of the West, which led Adam to Ale Works.

Executive Chef Aaron Brittingham felt an immediate connection as soon as they met. “He jumped right in and started to help out immediately. He was really intuitive, and knew what to do.” Managing partners Roth Jordan and Sean Faris are stoked to add Adam’s skills and professionalism to the powerful Ale Works mix. “Our kitchen is a constantly evolving force of passion and energy. We are excited to have Adam contribute,” says Roth.
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.” And then there’s fishing. “I’ve fished deep sea, lakes, rivers and streams, but learning to fly fish is one hobby that I will have to get into!”

Dawn Brown, SHRM-SCP, Human Resource Director

In 1998, Dawn moved from Dubois, Pennsylvania to Bozeman to attend college and work on her ski goggle tan. While pursuing a psychology degree and collaborating with college leadership organizations at MSU, Dawn

waited tables at the locally renowned MacKenzie River Pizza Company, working her way into a management position after a stint as the company lead server and trainer.

Dawn joined the Ale Works management team in December of 2007 as a front of house manager. In 2013, having become a working mother, she traded night shifts for day shifts, becoming Ale Works’ first-ever HR/Office Manager, a role that includes coordinating special events and community partnerships. With her extensive guest service experience, and years of immersion in MacKenzie River and Ale Works culture, Dawn is uniquely qualified to spread the love. “It has been so rewarding to help local non-profits reach their fundraising goals while seeing our team execute insanely amazing events with an elevated sense of passion and attention to detail.”

After months of studying and years of preparation, Dawn earned her SHRM-SCP certification. This is a senior level HR certification issued through the Society of Human Resources Professionals.

Outside of Ale Works, Dawn can be found on her bike, in her ski boots, or chasing squirrels and mythical creatures in the mountains with her husband Dave, and her beautiful daughters, Ingrid and Sage, to whom she is committed to raising as strong, independent, empathetic, and happy girls.

As the Ale Works adventure continues, Dawn looks forward to providing support, education, training and development for our growing salaried management team.

OWNERS

roth jordan, managing partner/corporate chef

In Roth’s Grandma's rural Alabama kitchen, chicken stock was always on the stove, “and everybody cleaned their plates,” Roth recalls, but it was only by heading West and into the kitchen of Buck’s T-4 Ranch in Big Sky, that Roth met a talented pastry chef, his future wife Kathryn, who encouraged him to take his culinary aspirations seriously.

Reluctantly leaving Montana in search of total immersion, Roth attended the New England Culinary Institute, learned old-school French cuisine in Vermont, and cooked in the US Virgin Islands under chef and mentor Ted Robinson, who “wasn't the easiest guy to work for, but taught me what it is to be passionate about food”. After a three-year stint at the renowned Stone Terrace on St John's as Executive Chef, Roth and Kat were primed to return to Big Sky Country.

In October 2005, Roth was named Executive Chef of Montana Ale Works and dove into upgrading the menu and standards of the kitchen. “It was a daunting task. We had to change the mechanics, the culture, and create the passion,” he recalls. “We turned it into an environment for professionals and when it comes to passion, pride, talent, and desire, I'd put my guys, a staff of up 40 cooks, up against any kitchen, anywhere.”

The culinary reinvention of Ale Works is Roth’s proudest achievement “aside from the birth of my daughter Karly and baby Tessa, of course.” His leadership and dedication led to an offer of partnership in 2008, and a promotion to Corporate Chef / Managing Partner in 2014. Roth currently mentors and oversees his talented young Executive Chef, Aaron Brittingham, and their kitchen crew as they brine and smoke their own meats, sous-vide locally-raised roasts, and legs of lamb, and make virtually everything from scratch.

Of the range of flavors and price points for which his kitchen is renowned, Roth beams “We might do pulled pork tamales, duck confit cassoulet, paella, and a shepherd's pie all in the same night as specials, on top of our 50-item menu. We’ll feed 1,500 customers in a single service, ridiculous by anybody's standards, 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, 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 emporium exploding Bozeman’s downtown restaurant scene with its artisan pies, hand-hewn ambiance, and passionate service culture.

The success of MacKenzie – combined with the community's need for a casual-upscale, smoke-free 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.

Mark and Christin’s role has always been to steer conceptual design and growth, guide employee culture, training and management decisions, handle marketing and promotions, and collaborate on menu design and development. Their commitment is to a business philosophy based on teamwork, empowerment and open, honest communication, gleaned from their lifetime in sports.

Both are former world-class ski racers. Christin is an Olympic silver medalist (1984 Giant Slalom, Sarajevo), triple 1982 World Championship medalist, and thirty-year expert broadcast analyst of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup ski racing. Mark raced on the U.S. Ski Team for eight years internationally - on the World Cup and in two World Championships - before turning Pro to race head-to-head for seven years in the heydey of the US Pro Tour.

“Restaurants weren’t part of any grand scheme,” says Mark, of a resumé that includes four unique restaurant concepts, including one in California. “We definitely wanted to see if what we'd learned at the highest level of skiing had any practical application in the real world. We had learned the value of systems, team-building, setting high goals and standards. And from our international travel, we appreciated the solace and fellowship of great food and service.”

“It’s a work in progress,” adds Christin, “and we’ve had to learn so much. But we’re always striving to stay ahead of the curve. It’s 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. Adds Mark, “Developing, inspiring and guiding people in their work is what we’re all about. It’s an incredibly rewarding adventure.”

Sean Faris, Managing Partner/Director of Operations

In 1994, Sean moved to Bozeman from San Diego to lose himself in fly fishing, fly tying, backpacking and—school. But the restaurant business entered the picture as well, and over the next 17 years, Sean went all in, serving and managing in various MacKenzie River locations – including a righteous stint as GM of the short-lived, location-challenged MacKenzie River Roadhouse.

In 2006, Sean joined the Ale Works managment team and was named General Manager in 2013, and promoted to Director of Operations in 2018. He now proudly commands – and leads, with humor and purpose – a cohesive management team of ten, and a total staff of up to 140. “I’m truly passionate about the heart of our business, the service experience, where our guests’ deepest satisfaction 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.”

“I am a lucky man,” Sean continues. “I have two beautiful children and a career that allows me to work steeped in community with a passionate group of people, for a company that believes in and executes a superior experience. I look forward each day to bringing out the best in our staff, developing their professional growth through constant, gentle pressure. It is such an honor to be a leader of this team.” 

Away from work, Sean’s young children, Finn and Marley, keep him conjuring up the adventures, though whether the benefits accrue more to the children or the father is an open question. “My kids help me justify my publically-known obsession for throwing flies at fish, tying flies for fish, or camping somewhere near 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!”

Peter "Pedro" Hendrickson, Partner

Moving to Montana in the early 1990s for a break from restaurant work in Indianapolis, Indiana, only a brief stint on a cattle ranch stood between Pete and signing on as General Manager of MacKenzie River Pizza Co downtown. That lead to a stint as Director of Operations for MacKenzie Northwest (MNW) in charge of expansion during which time Pete, Mark, Christin, and MNW’s Steve Shuel began conceptualizing Montana Ale Works as a new community gathering place. But the responsibilities of ownership, leadership, and employee management soon overwhelmed the man who came to Montana to escape the restaurant grind. In 2014, Pete scaled back to a passive role and moved to Belgrade to pursue other passions.