Food helps families and fire crews bond, says Waterloo Fire chef – Kitchener-Waterloo
All month long, we here at CBC Kitchener-Waterloo are raising food and funds for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
Feeding firefighters isn’t much different than sitting down to a meal with family, says Waterloo firefighter and chef Patrick Mathieu.
He’s also the author of Firehouse Chef, a cookbook that helps raise money for various charities, including The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
Mathieu wrote 100 of the recipes in the book, but firefighters from Newfoundland to Whitehorse send in regional recipes and stories to fill out the book.
“I know I’m not the only firefighter who loves to cook,” Mathieu said of calling out to other firefighters for their recipes.
“It’s really part of our culture and what we do in the firehouse — it really is one of those traditions that makes our bond as family so strong.”
‘Love creativity in the kitchen’
The cookbook was always meant to be a tool for charity, to help fire halls across the country raise money.
“We wanted the cookbook to give back to our communities,” Mathieu said.
As for the types of food being created inside fire halls, it’s much more than the cliche five-alarm chili.
Mathieu, whose grandfather and great uncles were firefighters in Quebec City, said “I love creativity in the kitchen” and he loves switching things up.
His top request from his fellow firefighters is for jalapeno kettle chip fish tacos as well as a three meat, three heat burger.
He draws inspiration from his Grandmama who is “still to this day the best cook I know, so her recipes were family treasures passed along through all our generations.”
At home, Christmas Eve is the big food event of the holidays for Mathieu and his family. It’s a cocktail-style evening with charcuterie boards, pâtés, gourmet cheese and tourtière.
At the holidays, the firefighters tend to do potluck style meals to bring them together at the station.
“How a family gets together for meal time and how that’s important to create a bond for a family, same thing in our firehouses,” he said.
Listen to the whole interview with Patrick Mathieu:
Police, firefighters support the food bank
Police and firefighters were at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region on Wednesday to collect donations.
They picked up 9,078 lbs of food from 13 different locations, helped unload 22,282 lbs of food and collected approximately $1,500 in cash donations.
Volunteers from @WRPSToday and @Waterloo_Fire want to tell you more about @FireToFoodBank #policetofoodbank stop by our warehouse with a donation to meet members from our local emergency services. #Food365 https://t.co/hdDvqa1GFa pic.twitter.com/iSDneI1MGg