Cooking in a firehouse is a very particular skill.
First of all, you have to please everyone on duty -- from the crew mate who refuses to eat rice to the rookie who's allergic to vinegar.
But you also have to be ready to stop and run at any moment, if an emergency call comes in.
Enter A.J. Fusco (top cooking, below on duty).
When he's not on duty at the firehouse in his hometown of Harrison, NY, 25 miles north of New York City, A.J. moonlights as a chef at an upscale restaurant in Manhattan.
This week on The Sporkful, we join A.J. and his crew mates Don and Rob as they attempt to get lunch on the table at the firehouse on time.
And A.J. says his jobs in fine dining and fire fighting have more in common than you might think:
"You're doing something that you know has to be done a certain way -- whether it's plating the dish or whether it's cutting the door open to the car...and it's usually under pressure."
But when A.J. tries to introduce his colleagues at the firehouse to new ingredients from his restaurant gig, it doesn't always go well.
"With A.J. going to culinary school, we were his guinea pigs," Don says.
"I've [eaten] a bunch of things I probably wouldn't have tried if I didn't work with [A.J.]," Rob says. "[But] he made mushy peas one day -- that was terrible."
Will A.J.'s chicken tinga tacos (above) be a hit with the guys -- or will a call come in and ruin the whole meal?
Listen in to the episode to hear what happens when Dan spends a day in the firehouse.
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Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:
- "Summer Of Our Lives" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan
- "Fire Breather" by Steve Pierson
- "Mouse Song" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Summertime Delight" by Colin Schwanke
Photos: Dan Pashman and courtesy of AJ Fusco