Chef Geoff Rogers from Home Tasting Room restaurant creates dishes that delight
By Dan Clapson
In a world full of molecular gastronomy, sous vide machines and a newfound love for organ meats, it’s important to remember what really matters at the end of the day—the quality of one’s ingredients.
After opening its doors in the fall of 2010, Home Tasting Room, located in Calgary’s downtown core just one block from the Calgary Tower, is starting to become a household name. Since its inception, executive chef Geoff Rogers has been at the helm of a menu that focuses on locally sourced ingredients. This is a restaurant that exudes the belief of “quality over quantity.” What diners will see on their plates is best described as a gourmet, but neither pretentious nor overly complex take on a typical family dinner.
“Growing up, I was always around my grandma,” says Rogers. “The focal point of the week was always Sunday night dinner at her place, bringing our family together. That all-encompassing act of a eating a meal: tasting, sharing, the whole experience. I want my menu to reflect that feeling.”
After cooking in professional kitchens since the age of 16, Rogers, now 31, a born- and-raised Calgarian, obtained his chef diploma by challenging the apprenticeship tests in 2009. Before his executive position at Home Tasting Room, he worked at several of Calgary’s top restaurants, Muse—under chef Xavier Lacaze (currently Calgary’s only Top Chef Canada cheftestant)—and acclaimed chef Scott Pohorelic from River Cafe.
After accepting the position at Home Tasting Room prior to its opening, Rogers says his hopes for the menu fell directly in line with what the restaurant was striving to be. “They had a vision of what they wanted, so it was a natural partnership for myself to come onboard with the style of cooking that I do. Very local, very sustainable … everything handcrafted from the very start to the very finish.”
Talking further culinary philosophy, Rogers’ explains his use, and appreciation, of utilizing local Albertan producers and suppliers.
“If you think of the progression—the hundreds of hours that farmers put into raising their livestock, or whatever it may be, then the labour my kitchen team spends on it, and then going onto the plates—that level of dedication from both ends is fantastic. You always get back what you put into things and we end up with a really great final product.”
His creativity in the kitchen has not gone unnoticed, either. Rogers is set to compete in Calgary’s Gold Metal Plates competition for the first time this fall. “I’m constantly trying to refine what it is we do here. Being selected as a competitor for such a prestigious competition really validates the effort I put into my work,” says Rogers. “I’m extremely proud of what we create here at Home.”