Chef Rogan Lechthaler is as creative in the kitchen as he is adept on skis. With no formal training, the Weston, Vermont native has honed his eclectic culinary skills all the way from Boston to New Orleans. He specializes in using local, seasonal ingredients at his flagship fine dining spot- The Downtown Grocery in Ludlow, Vermont- but also has a passion for retro arcade games & taxidermy, which came together in his creation of Gamebird- a retro arcade, bar and restaurant in December of 2021.
The chef started his career in 1999 at The Ritz Carlton in Boston, before moving to Mistral, a see-and-be-seen restaurant in Boston’s South End. In 2004, he returned to the Green Mountains for a job at Warren’s Relais & Châteaux Pitcher Inn, which also took him to Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. In 2006, he began wooing his Mississippi-raised wife, Abby, leading him down South to learn to cure meats with one of Mario Batali’s old sous chefs at L&M’s Salumeria in Oxford, MS. Rogan was called back to Vermont in 2007, accepting a Head Chef position at Stratton Mountain’s Verdé. In November of 2010, Rogan and Abby opened The Downtown Grocery. As well, the couple tried their hand at two other iterations- West Town Eatery (2013, 2015 & 2018)- a summer gig at The Weston Playhouse + Mama’s Hand Made Italian in Ludlow (2016- 2019)- housed in an 1860s Main St building they spent 10 months renovating prior to open.
Rogan has cooked at a private dinner party with Ashley Judd & Morgan Freeman, as a Guest Chef at the Delta Hot Tamale Festival, at an Ambassador’s Dinner in D.C. and at The James Beard House.
He has been featured in GQ, Travel & Leisure, SKIING, Garden and Gun, Yankee Magazine, Edible Green Mountains + The Wall Street Journal in an article that ranked TDG as one of the top 100 highest rated restaurants on YELP in the country (2013). In addition, the Ludlow restaurant was named one of the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America by the food critics of Us Weekly (March 2019). And in 2021, the USA TODAY highlighted The Downtown Grocery’s post-Covid pivot detailing the new small format with a family focused approach to scheduling.