Brian Roberts can't stand the heat, but he stays in the kitchen anyway.
A Costa Mesa fire captain, Roberts would just as soon the alarm--signifying human tragedy out there somewhere--never rang.
But the kitchen is a different story because that's the fun part of the job. Roberts, 37, loves to cook and obviously enjoys preparing large meals at the Baker Street station where he works.
"Quantity matters more than anything else," he says. "These guys eat! "
One of the favorites of the eight-man crew is the chicken wing recipe Roberts shared with Guys & Galleys. "It's simple but very tasty," he says. "I usually make a minimum of 15 pounds of the things. We eat them hot or cold, as a main course or as an appeizer."
Roberts says he and one other firefighter generally share the cooking chores. "All fire stations are different," he says. "In some of them, all the guys like to cook, and in others--like ours--there are a couple of us who really enjoy it, so the others just say, 'Have at it.' "
Roberts, a 14-year veteran of the department who lives in Trabuco Canyon with his wife, Mary Jane, and 5-year-old son, also pitches in at home. "My wife is a wonderful cook, but she lets me try my hand now and then.
"While I like Mexican and Oriental foods, at home I generally keep it simple--roasts, steaks and some chicken dishes."
And Roberts says that even though his son is the envy of all of his friends for having a firefighter in the family, the boy doesn't plan to follow in his footsteps.
"He's decided to be an ice cream man."
Each week, Orange County Life spotlights a man who enjoys cooking and features one of his favorite recipes. Tell us about your candidate. Write to: Guys & Galleys, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup water
1 bunch green onion tops, diced
3 to 4 pounds chicken wings
Vegetable oil to fry chicken
Flour to coat chicken
In bowl, mix all ingredients except chicken, flour and vegetable oil. Chill at least 5 hours before serving (the longer it sits, the better). Trim tips from wings and discard. Halve rest of wings at joints. Dredge pieces in flour and fry in vegetable oil until done. Serve in bowls so that chicken pieces (hot or cold) can be dipped.