Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Read about our write-up in the San Antonio Express News

Jeanne Jakle : San Antonio Express News & MySanAntonio.com

We all know San Antonio firefighters can take the heat in emergency situations, but a local producer is out to discover which ones can take it in culinary situations.

Jason Meredith, a former Leon Springs volunteer firefighter and technology specialist for San Antonio AirLIFE, is developing a "Top Chef"-style TV show with firefighters.

"It's called 'The Firehouse Cook-off,' a cooking show that features firefighters competing for a $10,000 cash prize and a cookbook publishing deal," Meredith said. The show will consist of 12 to 15 competitors battling in team and individual challenges. Making this show different? "I want to also help the community by shooting challenges at locations where they will do some good — the Center for the Intrepid, a homeless shelter, an elementary school."

Meredith said he has investors in place and has spoken to local chefs about being judges, but to move forward, he needs the most important ingredient: skilled contestants. "We are currently accepting audition videos (3-to-5 minutes long) on our Web site, www.thefirehousecookoff.com. Any firefighter interested needs to shoot a short video on why we should pick him or her."

He came up with the idea while deployed with a regional rescue team to New Orleans to help Hurricane Katrina victims. "I wanted a fun way to shine the spotlight on these everyday heroes," he said, adding he loves food and cooking "and it occurred to me that everyone knows firefighters can cook so why not have a show with them cooking meals that anyone can make at home?"

Delicious idea! Not long ago, I was fortunate to receive a firehouse recipe book made up of dishes from firefighters from around the country. It was published in conjunction with the Hallmark Channel movie "For the Love of Grace," and I'm telling you, it's one of the cookbooks I use the most.


Link Here

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Why ANOTHER reality cooking show?

In talking with people about The Firehouse Cook-off, I often get the "Why Another Reality Show" look early on in the conversation. This originally had caused me some pause and made me wonder if a reality show was the right direction to go. Well I have to say, it absolutely is. I spent 9 years volunteering as a fireman in South Texas, and over the last 7 years I have worked with so many great people in Fire Service as member of the Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue Team. What better way to shine a spotlight on these people, these everyday heros that put their lives on the line to help others.

I wanted to give something back to these amazing men and women who give so much everyday. I was not part of the Task Force in 2001, I didn't join the team until 2002; but I heard stories and saw photos from my fellow team members who responded to Ground Zero after 9/11, They responded to be there for their 343 brothers that were lost that day. We said as a nation that we would remember, and eight years later, some do, some still carry the scars from that day, some have gone on to other things. Then in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast once again the members of the fire service were called into action, emergency responders from all over the nation went into the fray to help others. But what seems to be forgotten is these same "heros" that we saw on CNN or Fox News do this job everyday. Even when the media isn't there and no one is watching they still are there to help others though rough times.

I looked for a way to showcase the amazing people who slide on those big boots and turnout gear every time the bell goes off. There are a few scripted TV shows out there and a few over the top firefighter movies. (if you haven't watched backdraft with a fireman, you should, its an educational experience) But the one place that firefighters always return to, the best part of the shift, is when the station kitchen is in full force turning out some amazing food. These guys can cook up some amazing dishes even with limited resources, and the most incredible thing I have found is it doesn't matter where you are, at dinner time, all firefighters are the same, they are all hoping for no emergency tones so they can get their meal down while its hot. So it occurred to me that the firehouse meal was the one thing that was shared among all people in fire service all over the world. And from that, the idea for The Firehouse Cook-off was born.

Anyone who knows firefighters, knows they are a competitive bunch! The Firehouse Cook-off gives them an opportunity to prove themselves on a national scale. We have a pretty amazing treat for the overall winning team, don't want to give too much away, but the winners will definitely have an amazing opportunity. Firefighters are also amazingly resourceful I know from my 10 day deployment to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina, I saw some pretty awesome things done with a Leatherman and some ingenuity! That resourcefulness is equally useful in the kitchen, these guys have found ways to use leftovers that no one has thought of. Don't have all the ingredients not to worry, need to thicken up your pancake batter, use a little MRE peanut butter. The cookbook these guys could come up with would be a great addition in any kitchen.

The marketability of The FireHouse Cook-off has some great potential. Everyone likes firemen, Guys, Girls, even cats stuck in trees. From a TV advertisers perspective a show like this would hit the 18-49 demographic dead on. Not to mention there are close to 400,000 professional firefighters in the US, this is a huge built in viewership, coupled with the families of these professionals we would be close to 1,000,000 potential viewers without even getting into the rest of the population. A show like this would easily compete with other cooking shows and would likely bring a huge crossover market to whatever network we call home.

Giving Back to these everyday heros... In the beginning of this post I said I wanted to find a way to give back something to these professionals. Our show sponsors are the heart of project, without them The Firehouse Cook-off would not be possible. A few of the ways we plan to give back to our competing team members is though sponsors gifts. A new set of boots, a radio harness, state of the art training, these are just a few of the types of things the wining teams will get. As the show gets closer to the season finale, the stakes get higher, and the last team standing will have an amazing prize waiting for them, can't give too much away, but trust me, its pretty cool!

Look forward to seeing more audition videos, again they can be submitted here: http://www.thefirehousecookoff.com/?a=signup

And if you or your company is interested in sponsoring the show please click the link below fill out the form and someone will contact you.

Regards,
-Jason Meredith
Greener Productions Inc.



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