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Specialty of the House: A Volunteer's Crowd-Pleaser

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 11:51

Firemen may have a reputation for being excellent cooks, but members of the East Hampton Volunteer Ambulance Association think their culinary skills are unrivaled.

Every month, the group’s 40 members gather for a meeting and training session, and one of the eight squads is in charge of preparing a meal.

“They make good stuff,” said Sandra Vorpahl, who has been a member for more than 20 years. “We’ve had taco night, chili night, soup night.” There was also that legendary day when Ina Garten dropped by and helped Ms. Vorpahl prepare potato salad, while Josepth Realmuto, executive chef at Nick and Toni’s and Townline BBQ, among others, barbecued ribs.

But the squads don’t need to rely on a professional chef for such quality fare. Tracy Hillman, a longtime member, is renowned for his ribs, said his colleague Daniel Hays. Mr. Hillman prepared his signature dish this summer, but got called to duty during the dinner. “Two hours after he left in the ambulance, he returned to the meeting and was able to take part in the cleanup,” said Mr. Hays.

Not every member is a whiz in the kitchen, so at some meetings dinner consists of takeout pizza, said Ms. Vorpahl. But mostly, she said, the squads have shared a lot of delicious homemade dinners and great camaraderie. “Every organization should have social time, it makes an organization stronger,” she said. “We get together, we talk a bit, get some training, have a little dinner.”

When she’s in charge of the dinners, she likes to mix things up, serving dishes such as baked chicken, roast pork, and pulled pork sliders. To give The Star’s readers a taste of the ambulance dinners, she’s supplied one of her go-to recipes. Her colleagues are fond of her food, said Ms. Vorpahl, “but my biggest fans are my grandchildren. They love Nana’s cooking.”


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