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2015 Guest Chefs


Jeremy Berg

Executive Chef, Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

Chef Jeremy Berg has been with Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa for seven years. He began his career at Chico as an intern, was promoted to Sous Chef, moved up to Banquet Chef and is now the Executive Chef. With a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon, as well as having been born and raised in Montana, Chef Berg understands the importance of sustainable gardening and the farm to table philosophy.

 


 

Mike Callaghan

Executive Chef/Owner, Callaghan Enterprises, Billings, Montana

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mike found work wherever he could in various restaurants starting at the age of 12. After discovering his passion, he attended Athlone College and graduated in 1985 with a degree in hospitality management and a Culinary Arts degree from City and Guilds of London, England. After immigrating to the United States in 1985, Mike worked in various restaurants on the east coast as a bus boy during the day and stuffed newspapers at night. After being promoted to a prep cook, sous chef and then finally executive chef, a chance encounter lead him to make acquaintances with Bill Honaker in Philadelphia, PA. The two became friends and then made an agreement to start a restaurant together in Montana. That restaurant would become Walker’s Grill in Billings, MT. After establishing Walker’s Grill as one of the preeminent restaurants in Billings, MT, Mike left to begin work for Food Services of America as a restaurant consultant. Over the course of 17 years, Mike worked his way up to the position of Director of Business Development, helping thousands of restaurants refine their businesses along the way.

Over the course of his career, Mike has been part owner, managed and operated restaurants in Philadelphia, PA. Wilmington, Delaware, and Billings, MT. He has been a supporter and mentor to the ProStart culinary program both in Montana and Wyoming for the past six years and is also a Certified ServSafe Trainer with over 500 national certification classes to his credit. While the executive chef at Jack’s Firehouse restaurant in Philadelphia, it was recognized as a top ten restaurant in the nation by Food & Wine, Bon Appetite and Gourmet magazines. He was also the executive Chef at Silk Purse Sows Ear in Wilmington Delaware, voted best restaurant in the state by Food and Wine.

 


 


Chef Tim Freeman

Executive Chef – Northern Hotel in Billings

Chef Tim Freeman’s passion for cooking began at the early age of six watching his mother in the kitchen. His first job was at 15 as a dishwasher in a golf club. Following culinary school at Sullivan College in Louisville, Kentucky, Tim worked with Wolfgang Puck at Spago then moved on to The White House as a Chef de Partie in the Clinton Administration, cooking for world leaders when they visited Washington. His mentors were Chef Walter Scheib, and renowned Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier. Tim went on to work for the Governor of Ohio, George Voinovich.

Tim has worked all over the world, including Russia, Portugal, the Philippines and Kenya. He was named the Most Innovative Chef in Africa, Biggest Trendsetter, and Best Fine Dining Restaurant Individual.

As Executive Chef at the Northern Hotel’s TEN restaurant, Tim is working to give Billings and Montana a global presence in the culinary world. Since coming on board at TEN in May 2014 Tim has focused on finding culinary inspiration in local flavors approached in a simple way. He was surprised to discover there were so few wild game items on the menu, even though Montana is a state where so many people hunt. This year Tim was inducted into the World Gourmet Society, one of two chefs in North America to receive this honor.

 


 

Matt Israel

Executive Chef, Sacajawea Inn, Three Forks, Montana

Chef Israel has been cooking since he was 15. A Montana native, Matt knew at an early age that he would pursue a career in the food industry. While he doesn’t hold any formal culinary degrees, his life-long experience and tutelage in some of Montana’s finest restaurants, has elevated his reputation as among the best in state. The reviews coming from his current restaurant, Pompey’s Grill, are reflective of his creativity and talent.

Matt began his culinary apprenticeship with Chef Blu Funk at Showtime in Big Fork, MT. During high school he worked on weekends and throughout the summer learning the ropes of how a kitchen functions. Chef Blu took Matt under his wing and showed him how to create interesting and creative dishes. This led to Matt’s passion for pure flavors, using local ingredients to create amazing food. At age 19, Matt earned the rank of Sous Chef and knew he was going to be a “lifer”.

In 2007, Matt was hired as Executive Chef at the Blue Canyon in Kalispell. In this arena he was assigned responsibility for opening and running the successful restaurant and banquet facility, giving him the tools and experience to move forward in his career.

When the Folkvord Family purchased the Sacajawea Hotel in 2009 and committed to complete restoration of the 100-year-old building, they also knew they would need a chef to raise the bar in their new restaurant. Matt had been gaining notoriety in the Flathead Valley, but jumped at the chance to start anew with an entrepreneur family and a new venture. Since its opening, Pompey’s Grill has enjoyed rave reviews and a satisfied clientele. Chef Matt has created a reputation known throughout the state for his fresh and creative cuisine, that has proven to be the best ever in Montana

 


 


C.W. and Lin-Lin Lo

Sushi and Sake

C.W. and Lin-Lin Lo have made Billings their home for nearly 30 years after relocating to Montana from Taiwan in 1987. C.W. was a fighter pilot for the Taiwan Air Force, and Lin-Lin was a renowned piano teacher. They decided to immigrate to the United States for better education opportunities for their two sons, Wayne, and Ryan.

With no prior restaurant experience, C.W. and Lin-Lin opened The Great Wall Chinese Restaurant in 1987. Through much hard work, The Great Wall became one of the most popular restaurants in Montana. C.W. and Lin-Lin retired briefly in 2004, only to return to the Billings restaurant scene with Sweet Ginger. Their new Asian Bistro introduced a new dimension of Asian Cuisine to Montana. C.W. cooked many of the old favorites from the Great Wall menu, while Lin-Lin crafted some of the finest sushi and sashimi creations in the Rocky Mountain region.

After serving the finest Asian cuisine to Montanans for over 25 years, C.W. and Lin-Lin decided to finally retire. They are now enjoying their free time travelling back to their home town of Taipei, Taiwan, and spending time with their granddaughter Chloe.

 


 


Nick Steen

Executive Chef, Lone Mountain Ranch

Billings native, Nick Steen, has spent the last 12 years cooking professionally as well as for family and friends. Nick moved to Bozeman in 2003 to attend college and began working as a breakfast chef on weekends at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. As time went by his passion for cooking became clear and over the next few years he was able to work with James Beard Award winners and Montana chefs where he learned about using the best local ingredients. Nick then tried his hand in many different food arenas from corporate mass food production, private chef and food service director for Monforton School in Four Corners to sous chef and chef de cuisine for several Bozeman restaurants. In 2013 he found his niche at Lone Mountain Ranch.

Passion, dedication and attention to detail are how Chef Nick Steen creates a great dining experience for the guests at Lone Mountain Ranch. Every dish on the menu is prepared with the finest ingredients using local produce and meats from area farms and ranches whenever possible.

Nick was named one of the Top 10 Chefs of the Northwest by ‘The Culture Trip’ website and was featured on Zagat, the on-line restaurant review, as one of the top chefs in the Yellowstone National Park region.

 


 


Carole Sullivan

Chef/Owner, Mustang Fresh Food & Catering, Livingston, Montana

Carole Sullivan is a cookbook author of “Gatherings: Friends and Recipes from Montana’s Mustang Kitchen” and the chef and owner of Mustang Fresh Food and Catering in Livingston, Montana. She has been successfully running her business for 18 years and has had the honor of cooking for President Obama and Martha Stewart. Her customer list includes Jeff and Susan Bridges, Michael Keaton, Tom and Meredith Brokaw, Clyde Aspevig and Oprah Winfrey, along with many other local artists, writers and celebrities.

Mustang Catering specializes in providing southwest Montana with distinctive and thoughtfully prepared meals custom designed to fit each client’s wishes. Signature dishes such as grilled organic chicken sausages with apples, yams and onions, classic chicken pot pie and Indian lamb and potato stew have garnered a loyal following. It’s the people that come into her shop on Main Street every day that keep her cooking in the kitchen creating eclectic gourmet comfort food.

 


 

Jason Wilson

Executive Chef/Owner, CRUSH and Miller’s Guild, Seattle, Washington

Chef Jason Wilson’s Modern American Cuisine has garnered award and notice from across the nation and beyond as his restaurant, CRUSH, has grown over the past 6 years. Named “Best Chef Northwest 2010” from the James Beard Foundation and one of Food & Wines “Best New Chefs 2006,” Jason continues to innovate and lead the culinary movement in the Northwest.
A passion for the highest quality ingredients and the very best techniques are the foundation for his cuisine. Embracing a modern sensibility, he works closely with farmers, growers and producers in the Northwest to find the best seasonal offerings. The Monterey Bay Aquarium recognized Jason’s commitment to sustainable seafood in 2010 as a leader in the industry during their “Cooking for Solutions” gala event.
Jason’s culinary experience spans 20 years and many countries. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Jason sought out great chefs to learn from: Albert Tordjman (Flying Saucer), Michael Mina (Aqua), and Jeremiah Tower (Stars). Under Jeremiah Tower in San Francisco he found mentorship and built a strong foundation of skills. Following Tower to Singapore, Jason worked as Executive Sous Chef at Stars Singapore working and cooking throughout Southeast Asia. After 2 years Jason landed in Seattle, working for Stars Seattle, where he met his wife and business partner Nicole. Together they opened CRUSH in 2005.

 


 

Mason Zeglen

Executive Chef, 14 North Restaurant, Bozeman, Montana

Mason Zeglen is the executive chef of 14 North, Bozeman’s first gastropub, offering high quality food in a casual relaxed atmosphere that highlights local produce and quality ingredients.

Growing up on a small sustainable farm in Killington, Vermont, Mason learned the value of a hard day’s work. It was there that he developed a love of the flavor of garden-fresh ingredients. Mason’s first experiences with cooking in a professional kitchen began at age thirteen as a night prep cook and runner for a high-volume restaurant, Santa Fe Steak House. Intrigued by the energy, atmosphere, and food, Masons’ career path was set at an early age. The French techniques Mason uses today were learned at the New England Culinary Institute. After two internships and a couple of years running a small French bistro in Vermont, Mason knew it was time to find his next adventure. All signs pointed west. He settled into Bozeman easily, loving the outdoor lifestyle that was similar to his home state of Vermont. Mason worked as the front house manager at Ted’s Montana Grill for a few years. When the opportunity to become the executive chef at 14 North became available, Mason jumped at the chance.

Mason and his knowledgeable staff are hard at work every morning at 8:00 a.m. making pickles, soups, sauces, pastas, and breads from scratch. The combination of flavorful food and passion for the craft ensure a great authentic plate of food that won’t be soon forgotten.