Fire station food goes gourmet


by MICHAEL KING / Evening Magazine

Bio | Email | Follow: @michaelkingtv

Posted on November 10, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 11 at 6:23 PM

Mike Sulak, otherwise known as Suey is a 12 year veteran firefighter and a  gourmet cook. He whips-up gourmet meals and douses fires all in a single day. Firefighters at the Seattle Fire Station are prepared gourmet style to battle blazing buildings. Menu options include Firehose Chicken Carbonara and an winning burger recipe. Firefighters at this station save live and burning buildings gourmet-style.

Suey’s Fire Hose Chicken Carbonara

By Michael “Suey” Sulak, Seattle Fire Department, Station 8, Ladder 6


  • 2 lbs bucatini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb guanciale, diced
  • 4 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 dozen large egg yolks
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve one cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot, heat the oil. Add the guanciale and cook over medium high heat until most of the fat has been rendered, about 7 minutes. Remove the guanciale with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the shallots, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and chicken and cook over medium high heat for 7 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the white wine (or chicken broth), reduce heat to low and simmer chicken.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, and basil.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the cream/egg/cheese mixture to the pot along with the reserved guaciale.  Add the hot drained pasta to the pot and stir to coat.  Adding the hot pasta to the sauce will finish cooking the sauce.  Season contents of pot with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with parsley and black pepper. Serve with more cheese on the side at the table.  Makes 8-10 servings.


Suey’s Back Draft Beans

By Michael “Suey” Sulak, Seattle Fire Department, Station 8, Ladder 6


  • 2 pounds dried black eyed peas
  • Cold water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 toothpick
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 lb smoked ham hocks
  • 1/2 lb Hungarian Bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 cups sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco® brand Habanero Sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped


Place beans in a strainer and wash well.  Put beans in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Add baking soda and stir to dissolve.* Soak overnight.  If you are pressed for time, you can put them in a heavy pot and boil them for five minutes and then cover them and let them soak for one hour instead.  Drain beans in strainer and rinse well.  Put the beans back in a heavy pot.  Peal the garlic cloves and skewer them on a toothpick.  Add the garlic to the beans along with the salt, bay leaves, whole peeled carrots, leeks trimmed to fit in the pot, and the ham hocks.  Barely cover everything with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans become tender.  Always keep an eye on the water level and add more if needed to keep beans covered.  When beans are done, remove the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, leeks, and ham hocks, discarding everything except the ham hocks, placing those aside.  Drain off about 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the beans and reserve this later for the roux.  Cook the chopped bacon in a stout sauce pan over low heat.  Add onion and sauté until it is translucent.  Remove from heat and add the parsley and flour.  Return to heat and cook for 3 more minutes, slightly browning the flour.  Remove from heat again and add the paprika.  Now add the reserved cooking liquid and whisk to dissolve the flour.  When flour is dissolved, pour it all into the pot of beans stirring gently to incorporate. Remove and discard skin from the ham hocks and then dice the meat.  Add the meat back to beans. Simmer for ten minutes more to thicken.  Remove beans from heat.  Now add sour cream, vinegar, sugar and Tabasco® sauce.  Mix gently but well making sure all the sour cream is blended into the beans.  Taste to see if more salt is needed.  Garnish with chopped green onions.  Makes 8 - 10 servings.

*Soaking the beans in baking soda was something I learned from my father who learned it from his mother.  It was supposed to help remove the "gasious" causing effects of the beans.


Blazing Flashover Burger

By Michael “Suey” Sulak, Seattle Fire Department Station #8, Ladder 6


  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • ¼ cup crushed Doritos® Third Degree Bur Scorchin’ Habanero Chips
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped fine
  • ½ cup sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp A1 Steak Sauce®
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup double smoked bacon, finely chopped and fried crisp
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Red onion slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Orange and yellow bell pepper slices
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Ketchup
  • Spicy Mayonnaise:
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  •  2 tsp Tabasco® Habanero Pepper Sauce

Preheat the grill to medium high heat or get the coals hot on your BBQ. Roast the jalapeno peppers until charred on all sides. Immediately place the peppers in a brown paper bag and fold over the top to seal. Let the peppers “sweat” in the bag for 10 minutes or more until the charred skins peel off easily. Remove the stem ends and finely chop the peppers.

Place the Doritos into a food processor and crush chips fine. Remove and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Place the ground beef in the mixing bowl and add chopped roasted jalapeno peppers and Doritos plus the egg, salt, white pepper, garlic salt, parsley, onion, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and bacon. Form mixed meat into 4 thick patties and grill until the juices run clear and the patties have a firm, solid feel. Place a slice of cheese on each patty and remove from grill once cheese is melted. Toast the buns lightly on the grill and begin constructing the burger with ketchup o the bottom bun followed by the burger patties topped with slices of red onions, tomatoes, orange and yellow bell peppers, dill pickles, lettuce and spicy mayonnaise on the top bun. Makes four ½ lb burgers.