The Cooks of Lynbrook can begin whipping up delicious meals in their fully renovated kitchen, courtesy of the NBC home makeover show, “George to the Rescue.” Jack Cook, an FDNY firefighter, and his wife, Jackie, a special-education teacher, will be featured on the home improvement show’s seventh season, scheduled to air April 9.
George Oliphant, the show’s titular general contractor, polished off a “complete overhaul” of the Cooks’ once “dark and dingy” kitchen Thursday.
After about three weeks of construction, Oliphant showed off his handiwork to the couple, their friends, family and even Lynbrook Mayor William Hendrick.
The couple was speechless as they stood in their new kitchen for the first time, running their hands over their new granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
“This doesn’t even look like the house we bought,” Jackie said of their nearly 90-year-old kitchen. “It’s so bright and beautiful. It’s truly amazing what they’ve done.”
She added that she hopes the new kitchen will allow the couple to spend more time cooking together. Jack Reicherter, Cook’s lieutenant, just hopes it will encourage Cook to come up with a “second recipe,” joking that his fellow firefighters are tired of his signature macaroni and cheese.
With the help of local construction companies, including Lynbrook-based Turnabout Plumbing & Heating and Big Ant Electric of Deer Park, Oliphant installed new countertops, cabinets and appliances. The team even took down a wall separating the kitchen from the dining room and moved a radiator to make room for a reconstructed pantry.
“This was a tough job, especially because of the age of the house, but I can’t think of a more deserving couple to help,” Oliphant said.
Andrew Banks, one of the show’s producers, said they chose the Cooks because of the couple’s “charitable spirit.”
Jack, 29, volunteers at the Rockville Centre Fire Department when he’s not working at his FDNY station in Woodside, Queens and Jackie, also 29, logs as many as 10 hours a week at Ruff House Rescue, a dog adoption center in Freeport when she’s not teaching at Lynbrook High School.
“They both spend all their free time volunteering,” Banks said. “They’re just a really nice, young couple who really needed a helping hand with their biggest project.”
Jack has kept busy fixing up the house since they bought the Taft Avenue two-story home in 2014, ripping out the carpets in the upstairs bedrooms, refinishing the porch and completely remodeling the bathroom.
But when Jack mentioned that he would need professional help to fix their poorly maintained kitchen, Maria Burke, his mother-in-law and an avid fan of the show, urged him to apply to be “rescued.”
Jackie said they sent in their application in early January and a couple of weeks later were told that they were going to be featured in an episode. By Jan. 24, they were moved to a Homewood Suites in Carle Place, so the construction would remain a surprise.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who helped out. Everything looks great,” Jack said. With the kitchen construction out of the way, the couple hopes to focus on starting a family, he added.