While browsing at a local flooring store with my husband I spotted another man wearing a similar LAFD shirt, although this guy’s shirt said, “Fireman Favorites” and had a blaze of flames above the firefighter emblem. Of course, I just had to ask, what’s up with that?
That’s when I met LAFD Firefighter Cruz Macias Jr. My husband Eddie and Cruz were acquainted, however neither Eddie nor I knew about a local cookbook written by a local firefighter wholived locally…
So, that just begged for one of my 5-question interviews.
EB: Cruz, please tell readers what prompted you to write a cookbook?
CM: From time to time, firefighters have asked me for various recipes. Also, I felt it was time to show others how we eat at the fire station. Therefore, the idea of developing a cookbook was sparked.
EB: I like the features you list on your website: fast, easy, lean…is that to suit the firefighter palate? I (personally) know you guys have to remain fit for the length of your careers!
CM: I promote the book as being “fast, easy, and simple”… Yes, a lot of my recipes are suited for a firefighter’s palate but I hope everyone can enjoy them. There are some that are low calorie or you can substitute to make a low calorie dish. Such as substituting leaner meats. For example, you can use the Haz Mat rub on chicken and bake it for 1 hour and 15 minute at 350 degrees. It’s not in the book but that the best thing about the book – you can mix and match recipes to make a whole meal.
EB: I saw the video of you and Captain Mark Curry; we actually made tamales here at the house with him, and I believe he made an awesome guacamole and refried beans. Tell us what was running through your mind at the time of this video: http://www.latimes.com/videogallery/72079133/Food/The-Taste:-Firehouse-Cookoff
CM: I was nervous. It was my first time cooking with a time limit and in front of so many people. Knowing Captain Curry was a great Chef didn’t help and when you add the judges, Wow!
EB: I understand that you won the LA Times Firehouse Cook Off in 2012. There were a lot of firefighter chef competitors! Was it a tough contest? (The article link is: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/02/news/la-dd-the-first-great-fireman-cookoff-20120802)
CM: Well, I was a finalist for the Firehouse Chef Cook Off that was put on by the L A Times and held at the Taste. Unfortunately, I was not the winner but I felt like one with all the changes during the competition. The time limit was altered while we were cooking and I was still able to present the judges a meal (with a little help from Thomas Keller). This was a great contest with Firehouse cooks from LAFD, L. A. Co. FD, and Ventura Fire Dept. I think this may have been the first of its kind in California and I hope to see this continued.
EB: To purchase the book, only $13 (and an apron goes for only $15!), readers need to go to your website, correct? (Link: http://www.firemanfavorites.com) Any book signings, new books coming out or more competitions?
CM: Yes, just go to firemanfavorites.com to order a copy. If they would like it signed, I can do that for them. I hope to enter more of these types of contests in the future and one-day write a second book.
From the website
This book is made up of recipes that firefighter Cruz Macias Jr. has made personally, with the fireman in mind. It’s for new and veteran fireman, or anyone who loves food and wants to cook like a real fireman! His recipes take a busy fireman’s schedule into account, but especially people’s passion for eating.
So get your apron on and get ready to start cooking like a REAL fireman!!!