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Rowe one of Ozarks’ culinary experts

Siloam Springs native Erin Rowe had not planned on being an entrepreneur, she just loved to cook. It was that passion for cooking that led her to start conducting food tours, write a book on Ozark cuisine, and become an editor for popular Bella Vista magazine.

Along with her food tour business, book and magazine job, Rowe is also a private chef, restaurant consultant, and part-time writer.

Early dishes

Rowe’s love of cooking began when she was 14-years-old. She learned how to make different things when she was on a trip with her friends, Rowe said.

“All the food we made on that trip was brand new to me and I desired to cook after that and nabbed my first cookbook,” Rowe said.

As she grew up, Rowe continued to develop her culinary skills, she said. After college, Rowe enlisted in the Peace Corps and served from 2006-2007 in Dominica and Saint Lucia. From 2008-2009, Rowe spent time in Sifnos, an island that is a part of Greece.

In 2009 Rowe returned to the United States and enrolled in the University of Hawai’i Maui College’s culinary arts program, she said. Rowe graduated in 2010, according to her Facebook profile.

Writing the book

In 2014, Rowe was working in the gift shop of the Peel Mansion in Bentonville when a publisher came in and looked for a book about Ozark cuisine, she said. The gift shop did not have the book, but Rowe convinced the publisher to let her write the book.

Rowe released “An Ozark Culinary History” in 2017 which provides a history of the Northwest Arkansas cuisine and also some recipes for local dishes, she said.

“It’s a story of the Ozarks,” Rowe said.

Rowe said she was interested in writing another book but wants to focus on the subject of God and how God directed her life and relationships.

The world of food

Rowe began working full-time in the culinary world in 2016, she said. In that year she began working as a private chef and a restaurant consultant, Rowe said. She helped The Wooden Spoon add a to-go menu and added a menu to Airship Coffee. Rowe also created Savoy Tea Company’s All-French Toast Menu.

In 2016, Rowe got the idea to do food tours after experiencing one in Florida. At the time, Rowe was working on her book but kept the idea in her head. Three years later Rowe started Ozark Culinary Tours.

Rowe conducts tours in Bentonville, Rogers, and Siloam Springs.

“Each town has their cultural identity,” Rowe said. “Bentonville is polished; Rogers is more industrial; (and) Siloam Springs has this perfect ‘Pollyanna’ perfect downtown.”

Tours are conducted at different restaurants in those cities, Rowe said. As an example, Rowe said the Siloam Springs tour consists of visiting 28 Springs, Fratelli’s Wood Fired Pizzeria, Tintos and Tapas, Creekside Taproom, and topping the tour off at Pure Joy Ice Cream.

Side jobs

Rowe spent several years vacationing in Lake City, Colo. In 2020, with the coronavirus in full swing, Rowe said she was led by God to work in Lake City. Rowe spent four months there writing for the Silver World, Lake City’s newspaper, and helping out at the Snow Witch Gallery.

In 2018, Rowe began writing for Inside Bella Vista magazine. Two years later she became the food editor of the magazine.

Rowe joined her childhood friend Kamaron Rackleff to host “Get to Know Siloam Springs” this year, she said. In the show, Rackleff and Rowe visit businesses in Siloam Springs and interview the owner.

The owner would talk about the history of the business and if the business is a restaurant, serves sample dishes for the duo to try.

“She is such a blessing to everyone she comes in contact with,” Rackleff said. “Once she puts her mind to something, you know it is going to be creative, and that she is going to give it her very best.”

The future

When thinking about the future, Rowe is looking at expanding tours to Fayetteville and Springdale and looking to consult for more restaurants. When she is not working Rowe goes on adventures, she said.

Rowe likes to canoe, rock climb, and fly, she said. Recently Rowe skydived in Springfield, Missouri for the first time she said.

“My work in food ultimately is His direction,” Rowe said of God. “but He also shows me other insights for the life I’d like to share with others.”

An Ozark Culinary History, Northwest Arkansas Traditions from Corn Dodgers to Squirrel Meatloaf is a book on the history of Ozark Cuisine written by Erin Rowe. Rowe wrote her book in 2016 and released it a year later.

Photo Submitted Erin Rowe poses outside of 28 Springs, before the Kiwanis Club meeting where she is to speak. Rowe owns Ozark Culinary Tours which conducts food tours by traveling to different restaurants, sampling the restaurant's dishes and giving a history of the business. Rowe conducts food tours in Bentonville, Rogers and Siloam Springs.

Photo Submitted Erin Rowe poses outside of 28 Springs, before the Kiwanis Club meeting where she is to speak. Rowe owns Ozark Culinary Tours which conducts food tours by traveling to different restaurants, sampling the restaurant’s dishes and giving a history of the business. Rowe conducts food tours in Bentonville, Rogers and Siloam Springs.

https://hl.nwaonline.com/news/2021/oct/24/rowe-one-of-ozarks-culinary-experts/