| By Larry Oskin |
Clermont Chef Robert Scambia is on a personal mission to reward and honor Florida firefighters.
Born in Manhattan and raised in Union City, NJ, Robert has a special place in his heart for 9/11 victims and survivors, as well as police officers, firefighters and first responders who helped.
He lost a close friend who was a firefighter working the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.
Robert studied in Italy for nine years and was certified at the Culinary School in Palm Beach in 2003 before becoming a chef and caterer.
He came to Clermont to work as a chef in the Fresh Restaurant in the Swan & Dolphin Resort. He now works at the Clermont Citrus Tower Publix in the Bakery Department, while also cooking as many meals as possible at Florida fire stations.
Over 300 Fire Station Meals & Still Counting! To date, he has cooked over 300 gourmet meals at fire houses and for different shifts across Palm Beach, Orange, Leesburg, Mascotte, Minneola, Ocoee, Deland, Reedy Creek, Seminole, Deltona, Osceola and Lake counties and communities. He has done this same community service in Pacific Palisades, California.
Robert personally does the shopping and the fire stations welcome him into their kitchens to cook his recipes, before he eats a celebratory meal with them.
The chef wants to continue to offer home-style meals at every firehouse in the state of Florida over the next few years. He also wants to encourage other chefs and volunteers to help reward and honor other police and fire stations across the country.
A Hero’s Cookbook: Chef Scambia has written a cookbook that to his surprise, was published by the firefighters to help raise additional funds to support the Firefighter’s Benevolent Funds in each Florida county. The firefighters’ favorites are his Rice Soufflé, London Broil, Pork Loin, Chocolate Mousse Cake and Banana Raspberry Napoleon recipes. This book is loaded with beautiful photographs, inspirational quotes and commentaries. It sells for a $25 donation and over 2,000 copies were sold so far. A second cookbook is now in the works to share more natural, healthy and organic meals.
Special Media Attention! Robert and his Hero’s Cookbook have been featured on the local and national news. He is featured by Kleenex; and on national and international television with a World News interview by David Muir. After being recommended by local area fire stations to the TV show producers, he is being considered for the national spotlight again on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, although a date and time have not yet been confirmed.
Mutual Respect: Robert told Clermont Magazine, “I really very much honor, appreciate and respect what our police and firefighters do to protect us all. They really do deserve a lot more respect than what they get. I am proudly encouraged by the mutual respect and positive feedback the fire chiefs and firefighters share with me. My passion is to help support them as much as possible!”
Larry Oskin is the founder of Marketing Solutions / Art Beautique and a board member of the Clermont Downtown Partnership, dedicated to revitalizing the Historic Downtown District.