Restaurant owner John Howie to get cookin' at Super Bowl
February 3, 2011 · Updated 11:20 AM
For the eighth straight year, chef/proprietor John Howie is bringing top-notch Northwest cuisine to the Super Bowl.
Howie, a longtime Redmond resident who owns Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar and John Howie Steak in Bellevue, will be representing Washington state the night before the big game at the “Taste of the NFL,” a strolling food and wine event, held at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Super Bowl XLV will pit the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
On Super Bowl eve, more than 32 restaurant stations, each from an NFL city, will provide food and wine samples for guests to savor. Howie, along with Wayne Taniguchi, a chef at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, will lead the way in preparing sesame peppercorn crusted ahi tuna with a soy reduction and cream wasabi.
"It's a pretty tasty one," said Howie, who has lived in Redmond near the Woodinville border for the last 20 years. "My objective when I go to these things is I want to have at least 100 people to come up and tell me that this is the best thing there."
And since he started appearing at the "Taste of the NFL" in 2004, he said he easily surpasses his goal every time.
"I prepare and cook everything on site. Nothing is pre-cooked," he said, adding that he used only the freshest and finest ingredients.
Each chef is paired with an NFL player at their station, either past or current, and Howie will be joined by current Seahawks defensive lineman Craig Terrill, who will be signing autographs and promoting an array of auction gifts.
The event’s proceeds benefit Feeding America affiliated food banks in each of the NFL cities. Howie's proceeds will benefit Food Lifeline in Shoreline, he said.
Howie said the event, which attracts more than 6,000 people, is "like a big 'Bite of Seattle'," the annual food sampling event at the Seattle Center.
"Personally, I'm a huge sports fan as well as a chef," said Howie, who also owns the Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar and SPORT Restaurant in Seattle, along with being part owner of Adriatic Grill, an Italian restaurant in Tacoma. "It's a blast. This is a fun event and the money goes to a good cause."
Each year, the "Taste of the NFL" culminates with a live concert. This year, country music artist Martina McBride, will perform, said Howie, a season ticket holder for the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.
Howie said he will ship more than 300 pounds of ahi tuna to Texas this week in preparation for the big event. Howie said interns from Texas culinary schools will help with the preparation.
This year, the Super Bowl anticipates to be bigger than ever as the Dallas area is forecasting an additional 300,000 people for Super Bowl weekend.
"They want to put on a show for the whole world," said Howie.
And Howie is no stranger to the limelight.
Howie's restaurants been honored and praised in many publications, radio and television shows both locally and nationally including Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Sunset Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, CBS's Early Morning Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, Food Network and KING TV's Evening Magazine. Howie's Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar in Bellevue received the highest rating in the 2008 Zagat Survey for "Top Cuisine – Seafood" and "Top Cuisine - Raw Bars" in a city lauded for its seafood establishments, as well as top ratings in "Most Popular," "People Watching," "Power Scenes," “Service” and “Décor."
Howie has been honored with an invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on five different occasions and last week he went to Juneau, Alaska, where he prepared a multi-course meal for the Alaska governor and other state legislators.
So what's the secret to his success?
"I love to eat and I love food," he said. "I have a passion for this business and I have a palate for this business."
In fact, Howie's book, "Passion and Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table," is coming out in October. He said the book is a cookbook/autobiography combination.
Howie attended Super Bowl XL five years ago in Detroit, where the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, and has gone to other Super Bowls because of his involvement in the "Taste of the NFL." Last season, he got a ticket to watch the Super Bowl from the Gatorade suite with several big-name sports stars, including Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.
Howie said he still doesn't know if he will have access to tickets for this year's big game. But one thing is for sure: he knows which team he wants to win.
"Green Bay," Howie said of his Super Bowl prediction. "I could never root for Pittsburgh I could never, ever, root for Pittsburgh."