Our Culinary Team
The Rainbow Ranch Lodge & Restaurant is proud to announce the newest addition to the team, Jake Irwin, Executive Chef. Jake moved to Montana from Arizona where he spent 10 years honing his skills as a Chef working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the state. Excited to be back in Montana and with the Rainbow Ranch team, Jake will continue to provide guests with a unique dining experience with some of the best local products Montana has to offer.
Jake's ardent passion is food and the creation of innovative menus. Most recently, Jake was the Sous Chef at Superstition Mountain Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus designed course, in Gold Canyon, AZ. While at Superstition Mountain, Jake was able to assist in designing a fine dining menu and upscale experience for it's members. Also having worked as a private chef in Arizona, Jake cooked for high profile clients including Major League Baseball player, Albert Belle, and Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine Owner, Bill Pholen.
The Restaurant at Rainbow Ranch Lodge has a long running tradition of pairing local, ranch-to-table cuisine with an award winning wine list to provide a true taste of Big Sky and Montana. Having spent time in Montana as a young boy, Jake is excited to be back in Big Sky country where he can design a menu rooted around wild game and traditional Montana fare.
Jake has experience working in fine dining restaurants and lodges including Talking Rock Golf Club in Prescott, Arizona, The Palace Restaurant in Prescott, Arizona, Lake Marie Fishing Lodge in Chugiak, Alaska, and Sierra Pointe in Scottsdale, Arizona. In his spare time, Jake loves hiking, hunting, fishing and being outdoors with his two dogs.
As a California native who grew up in Bozeman, Montana, Rainbow Ranch Lodge Pastry Chef Elisabeth Michaelis dreamed of a career where her skills would lend themselves to fabulous celebrations and special events. To that end, she enrolled in The French Pastry School of King Kennedy College in Chicago after graduation from high school. Throughout her journey in pastry, Michealis has found herself working in competitions and special events in Paris, Chicago and beyond under some of the world’s most renowned pastry chefs.
Michealis attended Jean-Pierre Wybauw’s class of Callebaut fine chocolate and Nicholas Lodge’s International School of Sugar Craft. She has assisted in several high-profile culinary events where she was able to learn from renowned pastry chefs at the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels.
In April 2008 Michealis attended the Coupe de Monde in Paris, France, where she assisted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) Pastry Chef Stephen Glacier in creating masterpiece sandwiches and breakfast pastries. She then returned to the Chicago area and fell in love with making French pastries and celebration cakes during time spent as the pastry chef at French Cakes and Patisserie, a classic European bakery located in the western suburbs of Chicago.
In 2011 she moved back to Montana to be closer to her daughter and began her tenure at the Rainbow Ranch Lodge. She designs and oversees production of pastries and artisan breads for dinner service in the restaurant and develops an ever-changing assortment of breakfast pastries for lodge guests. Her French pastry background brings a level of sophistication to the dessert service at Rainbow Ranch; for instance the Taste of Paris that is served during the winter season is a rotating selection of cream-filled éclairs, miniature tarts, candies and cakes all made from scratch. Michealis enjoys working with brides to develop one-of-a-kind wedding cakes; recent custom orders have ranged from a s’mores-inspired cake to candy hummingbirds.