Join food journalist David Boylan as he shares his experience cooking and eating with firefighters at Traverse City’s Fire Station #1 on Front Street. He shares how our local firefighters plan and prepare their large group meals and meets the crew.
Flash forward to my pursuit of food journalism as a career, and it makes some kind of sense that I would find a way to involve firefighters. In the course of my career, I’ve had the good fortune to record radio interviews with, and be fed by, firefighters at that station in Royal Oak; in Encinitas, California; and in Traverse City. The interview/meal in Encinitas that I was recording with my son, Quinn, was interrupted by an alarm. My question of, “What do you want us to do while you are gone?” was met, to our surprise and joy, with the captain’s reply, “Throw on a helmet and get in the truck.” It was one of the great thrills of our lives and a memory that will last a lifetime. I like to say I was the first embedded food journalist to go on a run with firefighters. I have no proof to back that up, but it’s a good story nonetheless.
These guys are natural storytellers who are quick to laugh and welcomed me to share a slice of their world with open arms.
Holidays, birthdays and the like are opportunities to bring the crew together to share a meal. It is also common to have family visit the station to join the firefighters’ table on occasion, and it’s not uncommon to have a dinner with 12–15 people in attendance.
As a culinary journalist who has had a wide range of fabulous dining experiences, this firehouse meal was right up there with the best I’ve had. These guys are natural storytellers who are quick to laugh and welcomed me to share a slice of their world with open arms. It also allowed me to immerse myself into the entire fire station meal process, adding dimension to my series of fire station adventures … on a glorious summer afternoon in Traverse City. It was a most excellent day.
Meet the Crew
Best part of living in TC: Boating and hanging out on the water.
Signature dish at the station: Fish tacos topped with mango habanero salsa bought downtown at American Spoon.
LT. CHRIS JACKSON
Best day on the job so far: Every shift is the best day, especially when you work with the most dedicated and professional men in the business.
Signature dish at the station: Chicken stroganoff with No Yolks noodles.
FIREFIGHTER KENNY DAVIS
(COOKED THE LUNCH)
SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA
Favorite food splurge: Sushi.
Signature dish at the station: Chicken Adobo—a Filipino stew of soy sauce and vinegar with enough garlic to keep vampires away for a two-mile radius.
FIREFIGHTER NATE MCKERCHIE
Three words that describe how you feel after a long shift: I’m going home.
Signature dish at the station: Carbonara and no-bake cookies.
FIREFIGHTER ERIC MORAVCIK
ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN
Local produce you love best: Anything from a farmers market and Hall’s summer corn.
Signature dish at the station: Firehouse Sloppy Joes and tater tots.
PROBATIONARY FIREFIGHTER STEVEN RANG
MT. CLEMENS, MICHIGAN
What people might not know about being a firefighter: The hidden toll the job takes on family and friends.
Signature dish at the station: Steak stir-fry.
Find this article and more in the June 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.