FL Firefighter Places in Food Network Competition

Aug. 6, 2018
Orlando Fire Lt. Emanuel “Chef Manny” Washington placed third in the Food Network Star cooking competition.

An Orlando firefighter finished in third place Sunday in the season 14 finale of the next Food Network Star cooking competition.

Fans and firefighters packed Harry Buffalo in downtown Orlando to watch 30-year-old Lt. Emanuel “Manny” Washington flambé his way through the finale against two other chefs, according to fire department spokeswoman Ashley Papagni.

Washington’s signature dishes at the fire station include entrees like bacon jam burgers and churrasco steak with caramelized plantains in addition to guava bread pudding for dessert.

"At the firehouse we are busy all day long running emergency calls and dinner is the time where we get to sit down as a family," Washington said in a news release. "Being able to cook a hearty, comforting meal for the guys is what I am passionate about."

In August 2015, the Miami native beat out three other U.S. firefighters to win Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen episode "Stop, Drop and Flambe." In that cooking competition, players not only had to be a good chef, but also had to outwit and occasionally sabotage opponents in order to win.

In addition to his culinary accomplishments, the 11-year veteran was recently promoted to HazMat Lieutenant.

Washington, whose cooking skills are inspired by his mother and grandmother, also donates his kitchen talents to the Orlando community, Papagni said. For the last few years, he has cooked for the mentoring organization MAN UP n’ Cook Urban Father’s Day Cook-off.

On the Food Network show, Washington wore a blue bracelet in support of Nico, a fellow firefighter's nephew who was diagnosed with the rare cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma.

For the first time in the show’s history, celebrity chefs Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay crowned two winners, who already have filmed a pilot for their own cooking show on the network.

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©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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