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Redmond's chef Howie is riding high with Seahawks victories, 'Kick Hunger Challenge'
As the Seattle Seahawks roll through their season, the victories taste a bit sweeter to chef and restaurateur John Howie, as well.
"With them winning, it's a lot more fun. It's gotten to a fever pitch now," he said the day after the Hawks' 24-14 playoff victory over the Washington Redskins last Sunday.
The Redmond resident has represented the Seahawks at the Taste of the NFL event for the last nine years at the Super Bowl, and one of his "Kick Hunger Challenge" events will be in full swing tomorrow night at his SPORT Restaurant & Bar in Seattle. All the proceeds will go to Seattle's Food Lifeline.
As of the Reporter's deadline, Seattle was in fourth place with $8,075 raised in the national 32-team "Kick Hunger Challenge" campaign while the Minnesota Vikings were on top with $12,935 raised for hunger-relief organizations.
Howie, 52, and Seahawk alumni Craig Terrill will team up to bring a taste of New Orleans (the official host city of Super Bowl XLVII) to SPORT with a dinner of distinctive Creole- and Cajun-influenced dishes. Terrill and his band of Seattle musicians will perform and guests will participate in a silent auction to bid on Seahawks memorabilia and food and drink certificates.
The duo will be in New Orleans for the Taste of the NFL next month and they hope the Seahawks will join them by competing in the Super Bowl. The Taste's "Party with a Purpose" — which features chefs from all 32 pro football teams serving their dishes the night before the big game — has raised $13 million for hunger-relief organizations the last 21 years.
Howie — who owns five Seattle-area restaurants — will serve seared diver scallop with golden beet carpaccio, black truffle vinaigrette and arugula at the event.
In Howie's Taste of the NFL appearance in 2006, he went head-to-head with a chef from Pittsburgh in a "dip off" on the Good Morning American TV show since the Seahawks and Steelers competed in the Super Bowl that year in Detroit.
Howie planned on serving a Dungeness crab, green chili artichoke dip against the Pittsburgh chef's bean dip, but something unfortunate happened the day before the challenge. Howie's dip was mysteriously missing in the walk-in refrigerator — the Steelers' dip was present.
Like any stellar quarterback, Howie and his sous chef changed their game plan on the fly and went with a frozen blue crab dip since Dungeness crab wasn't available when they went shopping for backup ingredients.
Howie won the "dip off" and notes that "I was the only Seattle winner that day in Detroit."
So what happened to his original dip?
"I've always questioned that … I just know that we went ahead and won it anyway," he said.
The Taste of the NFL "dip off" is no more, but Howie said it was a fun experience that gave him and the Seahawks some exposure in the national spotlight.
"You go out and act a little Richard Sherman-ish… talk some trash," he laughed about the Seahawks' current mouthy cornerback who may be speaking up again if the team can get by the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.