Firefighters Present Cookbook to Chef, Who Serves Fire Houses to Honor Friend Who Died in 9/11
For the last 15 years, this chef has been serving firefighters as a "thank you" for their work. And now, Florida first responders have repaid the favor by making his dreams come true.
In a sweet moment captured on camera, Orange County Fire Rescue Station 83 presented him a cookbook bursting with his own recipes, titled "A Hero's Cookbook."
"It was totally amazing," Chef Rob Scambia told Inside Edition. "There were all these piles of books, and boxes with my picture."
Scambia spends his free time cooking elaborate meals for Orange County firefighters. From Boca Raton to Clermont, fire stations all over the county welcome him into their kitchen.
His passion for cooking started when he befriended a firefighter in New York. "I asked, 'What can I do for you guys to thank you?'" Scambia recalled. "He said, 'We like food.'"
After hitting it off in front of a hot dog stand, Scambia said he started delivering homemade eggplant parmesan and other goodies to his new pal's firehouse.
But tragically, the firefighter passed away while saving lives on September 11.
One night, Scambia recalled lying in bed when suddenly, he thought he heard his friend's voice. He immediately woke up and wrote down his favorite shrimp recipe, and two weeks later, he began cooking in nearby firehouses when he had time off.
Soon he was treating crews to elaborate meals consisting of spring rolls, steak medallions, beef bourguinon, potato souffle and cheesecake. It made him dream of launching his own cookbook.
"I had the cookbook done, but I never had the funds to put it together," Scambia said.
One day, the lieutenant at Station 83 called him and asked him to come in early to make a special lunch. Little did they know, they were actually preparing to surprise the chef, with the help of Kleenex.
"I said I'll be there at about 9 in the morning to start cooking," Scambia said. "I got 32 pounds of fish to cook, plus the fish sauce, plus I have the potato souffle. They also like the crab rangoons."
All the proceeds to "A Hero's Cookbook," which honors his late friend, will benefit the Firefighter Benevolent Fund in Orange County, Florida.