BLOOMFIELD, NJ- On a balmy May day, as the local residents walked up and down Franklin Street in shorts and t-shirts, members of the Bloomfield Fire department were inside Fire Headquarters celebrating an early Thanksgiving of sorts. The customary smell of smoky fire gear was now replaced by the enticing aroma of nutmeg and bacon. The garage bay, normally reserved for a fire engine, was now home to a hair and makeup station and a craft services table. Bloomfield, NJ was starting to feel a little bit like Hollywood.
Although the fanfare was a welcome change, Bloomfield Fire HQ is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of the small screen. Due to its classic firehouse style and close proximity to NYC, many a production company has scouted out and successfully utilized Fire Headquarters for various television projects.
For the latest project, Food Network came calling. Producers of the network's web series "Man Crafted" were looking for a local firehouse to feature in their popular internet show in which Chef James Briscione seeks out dynamic men across the country who are making their mark on the food world, from high-tech urban farmers to small batch brewers, and adventurers who cook everything over an open flame. In each episode, James and his new buddies create dishes based on their shared cravings for creative eats packed with bold flavor and spices. Firefighters have a rich culinary tradition in which the brotherhood of the job is often solidified through preparing and eating all daily meals together as a unit.
Chef Briscione, a two-time Chopped champion and author of four books, was also named one of People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Chefs Alive’ in 2016. Briscione wasted no time jumping into the action both on the fire truck and in the kitchen when he arrived in Bloomfield. Not only did the show want to only use the firehouse, they wanted Bloomfield firefighters to show the chef how we do things around the kitchen. Captain Joe Coletta and his crew comprised of FF Joe Prato, FF Joe Calleros, FF Jose Roman and FF Alex Nieves were eager to welcome Briscione into their home and to give him a "taste" of firehouse daily life. The group assisted the chef in making cheddar and black pepper biscuits, a 5 alarm bacon wrapped turkey and a pumpkin mousse tiramisu.
In true firehouse fashion, the firefighters and the chef sat down to enjoy the delicious meal and, of course, some good natured ribbing that's part of the firehouse camaraderie. We reached out to Bloomfield Public Safety Director Sam DeMaio regarding the Township firefighters being able to take part in the show; "This episode was an excellent way to show the lighter side of firefighting. During their 24 hour tour, our firefighters can go from sitting together and enjoying a meal to placing their lives in danger to save others in a split second."
The episode titled 5 Alarm Bacon Wrapped Turkey can be viewed here http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/man-crafted/man-crafted