Chef Gauge Rogers brings some southern flair to one of the valley’s newest culinary cornerstones
Story by Justin Franz | Photography by Greg LindstromLife often throws you curveballs and plans can change without notice. No one knows that better than Gauge Rogers, who just a few years ago was going to school for electrical engineering in South Carolina.
After working as a residential electrician for a few years, Rogers, 26, decided to return to what he loved most: cooking.
“The money was good, but wiring was super boring,” he said. “As a chef I get to be creative and make people happy with my work. As an electrician all of my work was behind a wall.”
Rogers was no stranger to the kitchen, having worked his first job in one when he was 16 years old. He spent a few years working in restaurants in his hometown of Charleston before throwing caution to the wind and moving to Montana. He landed in the Flathead Valley about a year ago and soon began looking for jobs. Of all of the restaurants he looked at, the newly established Farmhouse in Lakeside appealed to him most, in part because it’s unique in the Flathead’s culinary scene, offering locally sourced southern cuisine. Rogers was the perfect fit and he became head chef in January.
Since taking over the kitchen, Rogers has tried to apply what he has learned about southern cooking to the Farmhouse’s menu and, so far, he’s enjoyed success. Even on a weekday afternoon, most of the dining room is full with patrons looking for something a little different than what they’re accustomed to in the Flathead.
“Some people around town call our menu ‘redneck food,’ but that’s how we cook in the South and I’m proud of it,” he said.
One taste will convince anyone there is nothing lowbrow about the offerings. One highlight is the Garden Benny, which includes fried green tomatoes, sautéed spinach, a poached egg and homemade hollandaise sauce atop a classic freshly made southern biscuit.
“It’s got a little bit of everything off the menu with the fried green tomato and the homemade biscuit,” Rogers said. “It looks good and it tastes good.”
Alongside the Garden Benny is a lively menu of other southern favorites, including chicken and waffles. Rogers said he is most proud of the rotating brunch specials that always include locally sourced fruits and vegetables. He said brunch is what sets the restaurant apart from other establishments that just offer breakfast.
“I want to give people a reason to get up on Sunday morning, and brunch is a really good reason to get up,” he said.
Description: Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes, sautéed spinach, and homemade hollandaise sauce atop a freshly made biscuit, served with home fries.
Location: 306 Stoner Loop, Lakeside