Executive Chef – Northern Hotel
With more than 30 years of culinary experience, Chef Peter Birk joined the Northern team in November 2017 to oversee the food and beverage direction of TEN, Bernie’s and Banquets.
Chef Birk’s career began in 1980 when he worked at his family owned business, Spring River Inn, located in Riverton, Kansas. Over the span of 12 years, he worked his way up to the culinary chain, to become co-owner of the restaurant. Chef Birk also attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland and interned at the Ritz-Carlton on the Plaza, Kansas City.
Most recently, Chef Birk was a task force Executive Chef traveling around the country working in various highly regarded hotels and resorts. Prior to that, in Seattle he held the title of Executive Chef at Hotel 1000 for 3 years and as Executive Chef at Ray’s Boathouse for 11 years. During his tenure he demonstrated an outstanding level of leadership, creativity in menu development and kitchen management. Over the durations of his career, Chef Birk has traveled extensively studying various cooking techniques and lead culinary teams of well-known restaurants throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Bozeman and Kansas City.
When Chef Birk is not cooking, he enjoys volunteering his time to annual charitable events and gardening.
Jeff Brauer, Personal Chef
Big Sky, Montana
Chef Jeff Brauer was born in Kentucky and raised in Montana. At a young age his interest in cooking was fueled by his mother who cooked a variety of classical French dishes. As a young adult, Chef Jeff furthered his hands-on culinary education by eating his way through Europe, Northern Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
A graduate of Montana State University in Agricultural Business, and later from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, British Columbia, Chef Jeff used his hands-on and academic educations in his position as sous chef for James Beard award-winning chef Chuck Schommer. In his three years of working with Schommer, Chef Jeff learned the time and effort needed to make gourmet Montana food.
After working with Chef Schommer, Chef Jeff became the executive chef at the Newport Syndicate in Cincinnati where his responsibilities included running a fine dining restaurant, large banquets and catering events. His Montana roots brought him back to the state and he enjoys providing gourmet Montana food to fellow Montanans and visitors to this region.
Jim moved to Billings in the early ‘80s bringing with him a passion for great service and food. He studied under the tutelage of several talented chefs and continued the same in Billings. Since settling in Billings he has worked and managed several restaurants, catering services and is now the Chef at MorningStar Senior Living. The joy, satisfaction and creative challenge of preparing and serving fine food is still what drives him today.
Chef Jeremy Goldsmith returns for his Tenth year as Executive Chef for the Wine & Food Festival’s Saturday night gala dinner. Jeremy has worked over 2 decades in fine dining establishments around Seattle, Portland and Spokane. His culinary style is inspired by his roots in the Pacific Northwest and the slow food movement, with rich fundamentals in European traditions.
Jeremy is a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR and currently is the Executive Chef for the Hemmingson Center at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
Marialucia Luongo was born in Naples and graduated in Modern Literature in 1980. She became a
journalist and collaborated for many years with the national newspapers Il Mattino and La Republica as well as women’s magazine Donna e Donna Moderna contributing to the fashion and lifestyle sections.
In 2004 she published her first book of ancient recipes Cucinaria: Letters from the Kitchen and started her cooking classes and seminars on the history of Italian cuisine.
Since 2006, she has taught the Italian language in Australia at the ANU in Canberra and in the United
States at NYU and Queens College in New York City. Today she lives in Perugia where she teaches
cooking and Italian culinary traditions to foreigners, as well as, Italian language and literature, in both
Naples and Perugia.
Her passions are cooking and yoga, which have in common the wellness of body and mind, and
searching for a balance of flavors, aromas, and moods that flow smoothly into the body like breath.
Chef Kathleen Moon
Laughing Horse Lodge
Swan Lake, Montana
Kathleen Moon began her working life in the busy corporate world. For many years, her corporate career allowed her to travel around the world. Highlights during those days were when Moon had the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine of the country she was visiting and experience the magic in their restaurant kitchens. Food was the vital link to their culture and a way to savor the lifestyle in those countries. Those after-hour culinary experiences would play a major role in her second career as the owner/chef of the Laughing Horse Lodge in Swan Lake, Montana.
Since May of 2000, Kathleen has brought fresh ideas from her kitchen to the tables at the Laughing Horse Lodge and has enjoyed recognition in the Flathead Valley and beyond for providing excellent dining experiences for all who are fortunate to eat there. Always looking for new experiences, Kathleen closes the lodge when the season slows down and spends the winter away. Each year she travels to a different spot and immerses herself in the culture and kitchens. The beneficiaries of her travels are the lucky guests who visit the lodge and feast on fresh, new and delicious additions to her menu.
“You have to love what you cook. That allows me to be really creative. Never cook something you wouldn’t eat yourself.”
We are happy to announce that Tina Rulewicz will be joining us for our Brewmaster Symposium on Wednesday, May 16.
Founders Brewing Co. has grown around the simple philosophy: “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for the chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.”
Founders Brewing Co. has evolved into one of the most recognized breweries in the United States. They have been ranked in the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the last five years and have had several beers listed in the top 100 beers of the world on Beeradvocate.com. In addition, they have won six World Beer Cup medals, four European Beer Star medals and three Great American Beer Festival medals – 13 medals total across eight different beers.
As market manager for Founders Brewing Co., Tina oversees Washington, Northern Idaho and Montana. She’s spent the last 15 years working in the sales and marketing arena. Prior to becoming immersed in the craft beer scene while managing a craft beer, Irish and music pub, she was a ski instructor, published author, and a softball and competitive swimming coach. Her passion quickly evolved into a long-standing career. After managing the restaurant, Tina worked for a couple of breweries in the Northeast before joining the Founders team three years ago. Last year, she relocated across the country to be a part of Founders’ Northwest market expansion.
Her passions include: her family, Founders, motorcycle riding, golf, skiing, reading, animals, and watching sports. Let’s go Mets….next year.
Shawn Hamilton Smith
Shawn Hamilton Smith grew up in Easton, Connecticut, a small suburb of New York City, where he started cooking at a young age under the influence of his grandmother Jean, and Chef/mentor Gerard Clinton of the Aspetuck Valley Country Club. At the age of 18, he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the University of Utah and, of course, to ski. In order to financially fuel his winter endeavors, Shawn took to what was familiar, kitchens.
Eventually realizing that cooking was his passion, he enrolled in the culinary program at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon completion, he returned to Salt Lake and found a home as the Chef de Cuisine of the acclaimed Wild Grape Bistro. During this time, Shawn was recruited by the Michelin Starred Spruce restaurant in San Francisco to assist in opening their Park City, Utah-based restaurant of the same name. Under the tutelage of 2006 Food and Wine magazine best chef Mark Sullivan, Shawn honed his skills and developed a further understanding of the importance of simple, seasonal, and sustainable cuisine.
After Spruce, Shawn followed his passion for the outdoors to Bend, Oregon. It was while working in Bend that he discovered his love for fly fishing, which would eventually drive him to the Bighorn River Lodge in Fort Smith, Montana. Now, three seasons in, Shawn has found a home at BRL and splits his year between Montana and the Snowpine Lodge in Alta, Utah.
Chef Roxanne Spruance creates innovative, seasonal food while respecting and incorporating regional traditions. Roxanne entered the culinary world as a pastry chef apprentice in the highly regarded restaurant Blackbird in downtown Chicago. Working her way up in the Chicago restaurant industry, Roxanne gained valuable knowledge and experience in all aspects of the kitchen. During her tenure in Chicago, she was fortunate enough to work under Chefs Koran Greiveson, Elissa Narrow, Shawn McClain, Dale Levitski, and Christian Delouvrier.
Roxanne was recruited to play field hockey at Michigan State University after high school. During her time at MSU, she received two degrees, a B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology and a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife. She continued to cook in Chicago throughout college. In 2010, Roxanne landed a coveted spot as chef de partie under world-renowned Chef Wylie Dufresne at NYC’s wd~50, where she took full advantage of the opportunity to absorb invaluable modern techniques into her repertoire and to explore and experiment with flavor profiles and menu creation. Her tenure at wd~50 was followed by a sous chef position at Blue Hill at Stone Barns under the guidance of Dan Barber, where the daily exposure to fresh and local ingredients reinforced her passion to continue to support that cause in her cooking today. She followed Blue Hill by consulting and opening New York’s Cafe Tallulah. Roxanne joined Alison Eighteen as executive chef in April 2013. It was here that she began to be known for her creative use of local ingredients and whole animal butchery while utilizing a wide range of techniques. She received the coveted “Snail of Approval” certification awarded by Slow Food New York for chefs who have sustainably driven kitchens. Believing that the best food comes from fresh, seasonal products, Roxanne is passionate about purchasing from local farmers.
Chef Spruance has been a featured chef at events such as Taste of the Times, Taste of New York Magazine, and the New York Wine and Food Festival.
In February 2013, Chef Spruance won Chopped on the Food Network. Her episode featured bacon as a main ingredient and showcased her skills and depth of techniques under pressure.
Growing up an athlete in Chicago, Chef Roxanne has taken her fearless, winning attitude toward sports and translated it into a fearless attitude toward food. She’s unafraid to experiment with different genres and ingredients and believes in creating a culinary product that is stimulating while never losing respect for the product. Chef Spruance is thrilled to bring this vision and passion to her guests through Kingsley.
Eric Trager is the Executive Chef at Old Piney Dell at Rock Creek Resort in Red Lodge, Montana, where he maximizes his 25 years of experience in providing European influenced meals, creating daily features and coaching his staff to create a culinary experience for their guests.
Eric is President of the Chefs and Cooks of Montana and has served on the board for two years. More recent work experience includes Executive Chef at Morning Star Senior Living in Billings, two years as Executive Chef of Red Lodge Restaurants, consisting of Carbon County Steakhouse, Bogart’s Restaurant and Red Lodge Pizza Company, and Executive Chef at Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen & Wine Bar.
Eric’s innovative style while utilizing ingredients from local ranchers and farmers is evident in the kitchen, the garden and the cooking classes he teaches. As a member of Western Sustainability Exchange, he has become active in promoting Montana-made products and sustainable practices. Eric has worked with the Montana Department of Agriculture, showcasing Montana-made products in Florida, New York, Massachusetts and California. In 2010, he prepared meals for Taiwanese government officials who were visiting Helena to evaluate Montana agriculture and Montana-made products.
Eric was honored in 2009 as Chef of the Year by the Chefs and Cooks of Montana. In 2004, he received a gold medal for his entree at the Montana Connection Chef’s Competition and was awarded a silver medal in the 2005 competition.
Eric is a graduate of the culinary program at Paul Smith’s College in Upstate New York, where he medaled in numerous culinary competitions and was honored as a member of Who’s Who in Junior Colleges. He apprenticed in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and then continued his culinary training in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Laramie, Wyoming, and Napa, California, before settling in Red Lodge.Eric and his wife Dulcie have two children, Anja and Cedric.