Photo by Ron Burkett.
Iron City Chef
Edward Pegues will be representing the Hoover Fire Department at the 2015 Iron City Chef challenge.
Time with HFD: 19 years
Dish for Iron City Chef: Shrimp and grits. Banana pudding for dessert.
As part of the 2015 Iron City Chef challenge, one Hoover firefighter will temporarily trade his firefighting gear for an apron and a chef’s hat.
The Vestavia Hills Rotary Club, which hosts the Iron City Chef, has decided to make the seventh annual fundraiser the Firehouse Edition. Representatives from Mountain Brook, Homewood, Hoover and Vestavia fire departments will be competing.
“For the last six years, this signature event has had the Iron City format, bringing in four Birmingham area chefs to cook a meal that is judged by those in attendance,” Howard said. “But club members started talking last year about mixing it up and we decided to reach out to surrounding fire departments because, after all, they’re known for their great meals.”
Edward Pegues, an apparatus operator and medic at Station 4, will be representing Hoover’s firefighters. The Hoover resident said he really doesn’t remember when and why he began cooking.
“I guess I just picked it up all along,” Pegues said. “Both my parents worked, so when I got home my mom would ask me to put the chicken in the oven and things like that.”
A 20-year firefighter, Pegues has worked with the Hoover department for the last 19. Being at the largest station in the city, he is lucky to have access to a commercial kitchen.
“We have three dedicated chefs and I cook for nine guys every other day,” he said. “There’s a lot of trial and error cooking for nine men because you’ve got eight other palates you’re trying to please.”
Pegues, who said his three-year-old son is “a next generation griller” complete with his own miniature plastic grill, admits that while he’s looking forward to the Iron City Chef event, he is a bit anxious, too.
“Cooking for 300 people – this is unchartered waters for me because I’ve never competed as a chef,” he said. “And if you make it to the final stage where you have to produce a meal really quickly – well, you just have to adapt to what comes.”
Pegues said his competition meal will be shrimp and grits, with banana pudding for dessert.
The Iron City Chef Firehouse Edition will be held July 18 at 6 p.m. at the Jefferson State Community College Culinary and Hospitality Institute. Tickets are $55 per person with corporate tables available for $400 and $800.
For more information, visit rotarytoast.org.