Iowa Firefighter Shares Love of Station Cooking

March 4, 2013
Sioux City Firefighter George Glass has been a firefighter for five years and, before that, he was a restaurant cook for seven. That's why he makes sure the folks in his station are well fed.

SIOUX CITY | Firefighters exert a lot of energy battling a blaze. That's why George Glass makes sure they're fed before leaving the station.

"Firefighters love comfort food," he said, while preparing omelets. "Luckily, that’s what I love to cook."

Glass, 33, of Sioux City, joined Sioux City Fire-Rescue nearly five years ago, after spending more than seven years as a restaurant cook.

"I grew up in a single-parent household," he said. "Since my mom worked, I learned early on how to cook for myself."

It was after graduating from West High School in 1996 that Glass decided to make cooking his occupation, working stints at Perkins and Outback Steakhouse.

"I never had the training to be a chef but the experiences gave me confidence in a kitchen," he said.

Yet working as a cook wasn't enough for Glass. He wanted a job that would allow him to start a family.

"There isn't much job security in a restaurant kitchen," he said, "and I wanted to set down some roots."

Glass became part of the Fire Department in May 2008, the same month daughter Addison was born. Since then, he's been a "floater" -- a firefighter who works at all seven city firehouses, instead of being assigned to one.

This means Glass has worked with (and cooked for) just about every member of the department.

"All firefighters take turns at cooking dinner for their station," Glass said. "And many of them are pretty darn good cooks."

For Glass, he prefers simple meals as healthy as they are delicious.

"I use olive oil instead of butter," he said. "Plus I try to use fresh veggies as often as I can."

Some of Glass' most requested dishes are Chicken Alfredo and his own recipe for stuffed peppers. Perhaps as a shout-out to his days as a restaurant cook, Glass pays close attention to food presentation.

"People eat with their eyes as well as their mouths," he said. "I always want to create a nice-looking plate."

Sioux City Fire-Rescue Lt. Ed Voloshen said there's something special when firefighters "break bread" with one another.

"We spend so much time working together in the firehouse," he said. "It's nice when we have a chance to kick back and enjoy a good meal."

As much as Glass likes cooking for his work family, he is equally as adaptable for his own family.

"My wife Kara is an OK cook, so she's totally on board with me cooking for both her and Addison," he said. His daughter, now 4, prefers peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chicken nuggets over everything else, he said.

Dicing up onions and peppers for his omelets, Glass said feeding firefighters is much different than feeding a restaurant full of customers.

"We can be called to a fire at a moment's notice," he said. "That happens all the time."

Still, Glass said he never regrets his decision to join the force.

"Sure, fighting fires is cool stuff," he said with a smile, "but what makes the job fun is the knowledge that you're truly helping people."

Copyright 2013 Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, IADistributed by Newsbank, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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