Check out Mr Number 74 on Saveur’s Top 100 for 2008:
74 Disciple of Flavor
It’s hard to put a finger on what we respect the most about JON ROWLEY.
Partly it’s his foresight: over three decades as a food-industry
consultant and all-around tastemaker, Rowley, who is based in Seattle,
was an early champion of such formerly obscure foods as Washington
State’s Olympia oysters, Alaska’s Copper River salmon, and northern
California’s Frog Hollow Farm peaches. We also like that each of his
culinary finds comes with a compelling history, whether it’s a
"benchmark peach experience" he once had in a train station in Genoa,
Italy, or the elation he felt at his first plate of oysters at Le Dôme,
in Paris. Most of all, we admire the passion that’s sustained him in
his pursuits, which, in hindsight, more closely resemble a quest than a
I met Jon at Canlis in 1998, when they were holding a peach gala for Frog’s Hollow Farms. He was demonstrating his newest gizmo that resembled a light pen affixed with two microscope slides pressed together. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s a device for measuring the sugar content or "brix" of an organic compound. He was intently anylizing a big bowlingball of a peach, and pronouncing it the sweetest of the bunch. Of course, there was one last week that was off the charts, you should have seen it, but this was second best. Sounded like a good fish story to me. Turns out he’d had plenty of practice at that, too.
Jon is the marketing genius behind so many food frenzies in Seattle it’s hard to name them all, but one of his most successful campaigns so far has been the Copper River Salmon craze, and the late summer riotous Red Haven peach festival. Whatever Jon has his hands in, Seattle foodies are wise to take note and follow his nose. It always knows.