This Story Originally Was Posted on InsideEdition.com in August 2016
Inspired by a friend who lost his life on 9/11, a chef in Florida has cooked for firefighters for the last 16 years as a way to say “thank you.”
So the first responders thought it was about time they repaid the favor.
In a sweet moment captured on camera in August 2016, Orange County Fire Rescue Station 83 presented Chef Rob Scambia with a cookbook bursting with his own recipes, titled, A Hero’s Cookbook.
“It was totally amazing,” Scambia told InsideEdition.com at the time. “There were all these piles of books, and boxes with my picture.”
Scambia spends his free time cooking elaborate meals for Orange County firefighters.
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, that firefighter died while saving lives on September 11, 2001.
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 bourguignon, 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, a 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.
In video provided by Kleenex, firefighters can be seen escorting Scambia from the kitchen and into the garage. He’s then presented with a book, with his image printed across the front, and his recipes inside.
All the proceeds of A Hero’s Cookbook, which honors Scambia’s late friend, will benefit the Firefighter Benevolent Fund in Orange County, Fla.