Retired New York City firefighter Raymond Cooney understands firsthand the value of helping someone.
He still remembers vividly when his father Joseph Cooney, 78, also a retired NYC firefighter, suffered third-degree burns during a family barbecue in 1976. He stayed in a burn center for six weeks.
Raymond Cooney, now 40 and living in Bayport, will never forget how his father was helped. And now he is getting a chance to give back in a big way as one of the executive producers of the new cooking show “Firehouse Kitchen.” It premiered on Oct. 6 on WLNY-TV and is airing every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. for a 13-week run.
The show is benefiting the Stony Brook University Medical Center Burn Center, New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation and the Heather Pendergast Fund, an organization that raises money for the sick children of volunteer firefighters.
“Firehouse Kitchen” is hosted by retired NYC firefighter and chef Joseph Bonanno, of Lindenhurst. Bonanno, 40, is the author of “Healthy Firehouse Cookbook” and “The Firehouse Grilling Cookbook.’ The program showcases Bonanno cooking a variety of dishes at a kitchen studio located in Bohemia. The show also features volunteer firefighters cooking their signature dishes at their firehouses -- including Bohemia, Massapequa and Patchogue.
“Filming the show was a blast and this was the perfect opportunity to give back and I was happy to do it. We had so much fun filming, the volunteer firefighters were great,” said Cooney, who co-executive produces the show with Bonanno and Massapequa science fiction writer Ian Fydell, 40.
The idea for the ‘Firehouse Kitchen’ came from Bonanno, who wanted to televise a firehouse cooking show but was unsuccessful due to the lack of funding. Thankfully, Cooney stepped in and secured sponsors throughout Long Island including Georgi Vodka. Cooney met Bonanno through his years of being a firefighter and Fydell through a mutual contact at the Legwork Team, a self-publishing company.
“It has been very fulfilling working on ‘Firehouse Kitchen.’ It’s great seeing the bond that firemen share and how they are always helping people,” Fydell said.
So far, Cooney says $62,000 has been of a $100,000 goal.
Heather Pendergast Fund vice president Thomas Pendergast is grateful for the show’s contributions.
“We are very appreciative when we receive contributions because the only way to continue our mission is through donations,” Pendergast said.
Cooney presents the fire safety tip during each show dressed as Firefighter Ray and created the catchy jingle for ‘Firehouse Kitchen.’ If the initial season is successful the hope is to expand the show outside of Long Island.
”We want to take this on the road and go to different firehouses in places like California, Philadelphia, Boston, all over. It would be great,” Fydell said.
For more information, visit www.firehousekitchenshow.com.
From left: Town of Islip Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, "Firehouse Kitchen" host Joseph Bonanno and executive producers Ian Fydell and Raymond Cooney on the set of the show.