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Firefighter calendar raises money for FFFA

The inaugural Axed Cooking Competition showcased Franklin Firefighters culinary talent and lead to the publication of an Axed calendar benefitting the Franklin Firefighter Association.

During the three-day competition, sponsored by Southern Exposure Magazine, firefighters cooked their best dishes from pork loin stuffed with goat cheese and spinach to chicken piccata with broccolini and pumpkin cornbread. The three semi-finalists from the event will compete again for the overall win at the Axed finals in November to be aired on Franklin TV and quite possibly open to the public. 
The calendar features the 12 participating firefighters and illustrates their competition recipe. Calendars are $10 and will benefit the Franklin Firefighter Association, IAFF #3758. With 135 members, the FFFA takes an active part in many community charities including a children’s summer camp for burn victims. 
When Franklin Alderman Brandy Blanton, also publisher of Southern Exposure Magazine, accidentally showed up at the wrong Franklin firehouse (Station 3) as part of a visit for the City of Franklin, she decided to hang out for a while to see how the firefighters spent their days.
“They invited me to stay for dinner and Brian Brandon made Chicken Cordon Bleu from scratch. It was then that I had an ‘ah ha’ moment that firefighters are great cooks. I realized how much time firefighters spend at the firehouse as a second home and how much they sacrifice for our safety. I wanted to do something to benefit them.”
The firefighter contestants ranged from novice cooks to self-proclaimed foodies, many of whom are self-taught. The panel of judges included two local restaurateurs or caterers and one “regular joe” selected from a social media campaign in partnership with the City of Franklin. 
The panel included: Suzette Lane, Catering by Suzette, Nick Pelligrino, Mangia, Jay Hislop, Chuys, Tim Ness, Cool Café, Wes Alexander, Nashville Pizza and Ryan Pruitt, Frothy Monkey.
The three winning master cooks were Brian Vick, Station 2 (fish tacos with Turbo sauce), Joe Polenzani, Station 5 (chicken pot pie and broccolini with pumpkin cornbread) and Todd Wilson, Station 1 (Cajun chicken pasta).
For more information, visit or to purchase a calendar, email  

Posted on: 10/24/2013


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