Taste of the NFL Chef Chat: John Howie of Bellevue and Seattle, Wash.

Chef Howie
In honor of the upcoming Taste of NFL’s Party with a Purpose, get to know the event’s participating chefs. Check back weekly to get to know other Taste of the NFL’s Party with a Purpose chefs from all over the nation!
Chef name: John Howie
Restaurant and location: Restaurants in Bellevue and Seattle, Wash.
Web site: www.seastarrestaurant.com; www.johnhowiesteak.com; www.sportrestaurant.com
Social media: @ChefJohnHowie; @SeastarRawBar; @JohnHowieSteak; @SportRestaurant, www.facebook.com/chefjohn.howie
What inspired you to take part in the Taste of the NFL’s Party with a Purpose? When I started my company in 2002, I had a few goals. One goal, of course, was to provide for my family, and the other was to provide for the community. My main concern was for hunger relief and children’s organizations. I’m also a big fan of the Seahawks and the NFL, so when I was offered a chance to combine my passions, food, philanthropy and football, I couldn’t pass it up!
Any hints as to what you’ll be dishing up at the party? I have been working with Italian crudo (chilled rare or raw seafood) a lot this year, so I’m working on a new crudo for the event.
Say you’re hosting a Super Bowl party. What dish do you serve to guests? I have two options. The first would be my 2005 Super Bowl award-winning Dungeness Crab, Artichoke and Roasted Poblano Chile Dip. With this chile dip, I beat the Pittsburgh chef and his black bean dip, hands down on **ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The second would be my famous All Steak Chili made with onions, beef, dried chilies and a secret ingredient.
** ABC used to host a Super Bowl Dip Off, on the air the morning of the Super Bowl, between the two chefs representing the Taste of the NFL for their respective cities. In 2005, it was Pittsburgh vs. Seattle.
Have you always had a passion for the culinary arts? How did you get your start? I have always loved food. My mom and grandmother were very good cooks, so I had a good start to my palate. I needed a job, so I went to work in a restaurant as a lunch bus person, which is a great job for a high school kid. I was there for about four months when the restaurant was closed, so I applied at a local fine dining restaurant and was hired as a pantry cook. I then worked my way up through all of the stations and was actually in charge of the restaurant on Sunday and Monday nights, a dishwasher and me. I later came to find out that the reason I was hired as a pantry cook (usually you have to work your way up from a dishwasher) was that the sous chef who hired me had said “He wanted to be there when I came out of the closet!” I guess in 1975 it was a lot easier to get away with things like that. By the way, he would still be waiting to this day, as I’m a happily married man, with two kids and two grandkids.
What do you love most about what you do? I love seeing the look on someone’s face when they taste my food and you can see them from across the room mouth the word, “WOW!”
What are your goals for the coming year? I’m opening two new restaurants, a brewery and a distillery. I love being challenged with new ideas, and I have great people all around me who need new opportunities, so here we grow!
What food bank are you representing?
Seattle Food Lifeline. In the past two years, myself and my Seahawk partner, Craig Terrill “The Singing Seahawk”, have raised over $140,000 for Seattle Food Lifeline through our efforts with the TNFL “Kick Hunger Challenge.” We are currently the two-time champions and are ready to three-peat!
Favorite Super Bowl memory: As a Seahawk fan, there was nothing better than last year’s victory over the Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos used to beat upon the Seattle Seahawks on a regular basis when the Seahawks were members of the AFC West, so the blow out, dominating victory of 43-8 last year could not have been sweeter.
Favorite sports-watching snack: It has to be pizza, but good chicken wings and pretzels are hard to beat. They all go great with a nice brew!
Favorite cocktail to whip up for Super Bowl guests: The Ultimate Bloody Mary! I was invited to a playoff game a few years ago at my friend Steve Smith’s home and he served an amazing Bloody Mary…I just took it to another level.

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