Will Walk For Food

Will Walk For Food

Chef seeks to polish ‘culinary gem that is Northwest Arkansas’



Chef Erin Rowe started cooking up an idea three years ago, and this month, the timer dinged “done.” Ozark Culinary Tours is ready for sampling.

“Ozark Culinary Tours popped into my brain right about the time I got the book contract,” says Rowe, who is the author of “An Ozark Culinary History,” released in 2017. “I had to make a call to work on one dream or the other, because I knew I couldn’t pull off both simultaneously with the amount of attention either would require. Since it’d been a life goal to write a book since I was 6, I went that route and put the tour on the back burner. Only recently have I felt an opening where I could begin work on it, because I stay so extremely busy!”

Some might call that statement half-baked. “Busy” for Rowe means being “a one-woman show that is CEO, public speaker, PR director and marketing agent, teacher (of both creative writing and cooking), as well as restaurant consultant, all within my brand. It’s a big job — or should I say jobs — but someone’s got to do it!

“In one day,” she elaborates, “I may create the menu for a women’s brunch, speak on a panel on behalf of women in art and then teach a cooking class that night. At least that’s an example of one of my days this past week. Start the day in heels and end it in chef checks! In between scheduled consulting, teaching and cooking, I develop my website for my new business and take meetings with potential restaurants to include on Ozark Culinary Tours.”

Rowe became a foodie while she was living in Hawaii, working as a fine art consultant selling original paintings and sculpture for Lahaina Galleries.

“Instead of fancy cars or diamond tennis bracelets, every time I made a big sale, I just took myself to a nice dinner,” she remembers. “In Maui, which is at the pinnacle of the gourmet foodie scenes, always, due to the high degree of tourism on the island. Eventually I found Maui Culinary Academy this way, first being a patron for their prixe fix lunches and later returning as a student.”

With that training and her own experiences on culinary tours in the South and East, Rowe was left “wanting to bring that to Northwest Arkansas with my own unique flair as a chef and local historian of our area.”

What Rowe has cooked up are public or private two-and-a-half hour walking tours “through one of Northwest Arkansas’ dynamic areas, such as downtown Bentonville, Rogers or 8th Street Market,” she explains. “Tours include art talks, local history, architecture and, of course, many tastes and beverages.” She will require at least a 24-hour advance reservation, she says, “to coordinate all the restaurants and stops you will experience on one tour,” but tours can also be booked months in advance, and private, custom tours and team-building tours can be arranged.

“I hope Ozark Culinary Tours will reveal to visitors and locals alike the true culinary gem that is Northwest Arkansas, as well as the dynamic arts, culture and historical relevance of the Ozarks,” Rowe says. “It truly is Oz, and I’m sure if Dorothy and the Tin Man were around, they’d still want to travel the Yellow Brick Road to find us.

“Once people get here, I’ll take it from there! I know I have a tour to satisfy the foodie, history buff, art connoisseur and curious ones.”



Culinary Tours

Chef Erin Rowe’s Ozark Culinary Tours company launches this month. Bookings are being accepted at ozarkculinarytours.com.

Categories: Food