Jon Rowley’s career has been a fascinating life-long exploration and quest to improve the flavor, quality and understanding of fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables.
After travel to Europe and attending Reed College, Jon Rowley began his career as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. In 1981, as a life-long scholar of the seafood industry from harvest to table, he began consulting to restaurants, retailers, seafood companies and other businesses. Rowley has received national marketing awards and considerable media coverage for programs he has initiated such as Bruce Gore’s “Signature Salmon” and Copper River and Yukon River King Salmon.
Sparked by an Ernest Hemingway passage in the The Moveable Feast on eating oysters and a subsequent seminal platter of oysters at Le Dome in Paris, Jon developed a career-influencing passion for oysters. He does marketing and various consulting work for fifth generation Taylor Shellfish Farms and has organized restaurant oyster programs and promotions across the country. He produces the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, an annual dating service for West Coast wines and oysters.
In addition to his consulting and marketing work for seafood producers and buyers, Jon works with farmers, restaurants and retailers to improve the quality, flavor and distribution of fruits and vegetables. Anthony’s HomePort’s seasonal, local strawberry program based on just-picked local berries and the much-acclaimed Metropolitan Market’s Peach-O-Rama promotion are examples of this work. He is also an accomplished forager of wild mushrooms and other wild foods.
Jon has taken a personal interest in reviving American heirloom apples. To give expression to several years of research on heritage apples, Jon embarked, with his wife Kate McDermott, on what turned into a two year quest to develop the “quintessential American apple pie”. Mission accomplished, Jon and Kate co-founded Art of the Pie.
A perceived correlation between organic matter in soil and flavor led Jon to the Seattle Master Composter training, several courses on soil and soil ecology and to the Interbay P-Patch Community Garden where he served as Site-Coordinator. His work at Interbay has been featured in a number of publications including the Christian Science Monitor and Organic Gardening. One of his proudest accomplishments was the Seattle P-Patch Program’s “Most Beautiful Vegetable” award for his P-Patch grown leeks in 1999.
Rowley was inducted into the prestigious “Who’s Who of Cooking in America” in 1987 for his work improving seafood handling, quality and information. He served as a Contributing Editor to Gourmet magazine and currently serves a Contributing Editor to SAVEUR. He was the recipient of the Seattle Weekly’s first annual Angelo Pellegrini Award and is a member of the Shaw’s Crab House’s Oyster Hall of Fame in Chicago.