Albert S. Howald, creator of the Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning, worked as a chef at the Randolph Hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Because of his amazing abilities in the kitchen, he became a troubleshooter for many struggling restaurants and was widely known as THE chef of his day. At one time, Chef Howald was the executive chef for E. A. Boss who owned several hotels throughout the state of Iowa.
Over the years, Chef Howald developed his All “N” One seasoning and began selling it in 1952. He loved the seasoning so much that he regularly brought a jar with him when he went out to dinner and he would sprinkle it on his prepared food, much to the chagrin of his family.
Matilda Munsterman-Mohr, also known as “Tillie”, was a waitress at the Kirkwood Hotel in Des Moines. Tillie became the Chef’s partner in life and in the kitchen. Together, Chef Howald and Tillie mixed the seasoning in the basement of their home on Center Street in Des Moines, starting in 1952. In 1955, they moved their basement operation to 985 25th Street in Des Moines. Tillie, wearing a hairnet, mixed this seasoning in a stainless steel washtub, and stirred it with a wooden spoon. They packaged it for retail sale that same year. The basement of 985 25th Street was their production factory for over 40 years.
Tillie died in 1981. Chef Howald died in 1992.
Tillie bequeathed the company to her son and grandson, Harlan Mohr and Martin Mohr, respectively, with the condition that the name of the seasoning remain the same, in honor of Chef Howald.
Tillie’s grandson, Martin Mohr, bought Chef Howald’s from his father for $2,500.00 and a 1977 Malibu Classic. Martin mixed the seasoning for years in the very same basement that Tillie and Chef Howald used, until he moved the company to Monroe, Iowa in 1995, where he manufactured and distributed Chef Howald’s until 2009.
Chef Howald’s became a very popular seasoning all over the United States. It garnered a huge following in Iowa, California, Texas and Pennsylvania. Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning was often used as a fundraising tool for non-profit organizations. The Children’s Hospital Guild in California sold Chef Howald’s for several years and the story was once told that the Chef Howald’s seasoning helped raise money for bandages for soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Martin shipped the seasoning to all fifty states in the United States and also all over the world. One family had the seasoning shipped to a yacht slip in California in order to avoid the shipping charges for it to be delivered to Hawaii.
The seasoning was especially popular in California. The large following in California was thanks, in part, to House Beautiful Magazine’s Party Editor, Virginia Stanton. Virginia resided on the Monterey Peninsula of California. She was described as the “First Lady of Carmel” and was renowned for her entertaining abilities. Virginia loved Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning and co-produced a cookbook entitled The Lincoln Continental Guide to Successful Entertaining. In the cookbook, Virginia included 13 recipes that were made with Chef Howald’s seasoning. Chef Howald’s was listed in the book as one of Virginia’s favorite seasonings. Virginia included the Des Moines address where people could order the seasoning in the cookbook.
The Lincoln Continental Guide to Successful Entertaining was subsequently given away as a gift with the purchase of a 1965 Lincoln Continental.
Additionally, Martin Mohr later tracked down a copy of the book which belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
In 2004, Arlene “Jake” Laughlin gifted a jar of Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning to her grandson’s wife, Courtney, and to Courtney’s mother, Terri, along with a handwritten recipe for a salad dressing made with Chef Howald’s. Courtney wrote Martin Mohr’s name and phone number on the jar the day she tried the seasoning and told her husband that same day that she was going to buy the seasoning company one day. She has held onto the jar for years.
The seasoning became the favorite, go-to salad dressing of Courtney’s family and of Terri’s family. Panic set in when the seasoning could no longer be purchased at the local grocery store and when managers said they could no longer acquire the product. That’s when Terri and Courtney started searching online for the seasoning. They discovered an entire community who were also searching for Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning. Terri located a phone number for the owner, Martin Mohr. She tried to convince Martin to begin manufacturing the seasoning again and when he declined, she offered to purchase the recipe or the company. Martin was not ready to sell.
Terri continued to complain (Courtney called it whining) through the years, still missing Chef Howald’s. Courtney decided to try again one day, and she made a call to Martin. In November of 2015, with her incredible powers of persuasion (really, just talking until the other person finally gives up), Courtney convinced Martin to sell the rights to Chef Howald’s special recipe to her.
So the story continues…one generation of wonderful chefs will be thrilled to know their favorite seasoning is available once more, and another generation will come to love and depend on Chef Howald’s All “N” One Seasoning as their go-to seasoning.