The Last Chair in Whitefish offers a culturally eclectic menu featuring this North African-inspired meal
Story by Amanda Rubano | Photography by Greg Lindstrom
A place of bucolic hills and mountain peaks, the Flathead inspires us to explore the world’s beauty. Stricken with wanderlust, we find ourselves yearning for views of other parts of the world, and the culture that goes with those views. But there are hidden places within our valley that can transport us through time and space for the duration of a meal, without ever traveling anywhere.
Tim Good’s colorful menu at the Last Chair Kitchen and Bar gives us the global experience we’ve been craving.
Good knows the Flathead food industry as well as anyone and saw the need for more diversity. The chef of the new Whitefish restaurant has an eclectic showcase of different flavors from around the world. The menu is garnished with international influences, reflecting Good’s 22 years of experience in different kitchens.
“I’m inspired by my past workplaces,” Good says.
He is versed in cuisines from across the globe, including Indian, Thai, and Algerian, which lay the foundation of the Last Chair’s menu. Good has seen the ins and outs of restaurants across the United States, from Minnesota to Montana.
Good established a culinary reputation across the Flathead with the Cuisine Machine, a food truck he still owns and operates. But long before opening the Cuisine Machine, and far away from the Flathead, Good learned to make Couscous Royale.
Two months before his college graduation, Good took a job at a North African restaurant in Minnesota. The restaurant’s Algerian head chef and owner took Good under his wing and taught him the ropes of the business. Under his guidance, Good learned to cook the Couscous Royale.
“This dish is an homage to my mentor,” Good says. “I can’t claim it as my own.”
Since his time at that restaurant, Good has remained in the food business.
“My trade found me,” Good says.
The Couscous Royale is unlike anything else on The Last Chair’s menu. With its “clean” cooking style, the dish is a stew created of unique flavors. It features homemade merguez (garlic lamb sausage) and humanely raised jidori chicken thighs. The stew consists of carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and red and green cabbage, mixed in chicken stock broth. The spices include cumin, coriander, caraway and fennel. The Couscous Royale is garnished with currants and cilantro. Although the veggies come from local sources, one bite transports you across the Atlantic, straight to Algeria.
Good has always been creative with flavors and spices from around the world, and, in doing so, has cultivated an arsenal of skills that he’s brought to the Last Chair.