Chopping Peppers for Chili

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,961
    Firehouse chef Tom Papoutsis chops bell peppers for the firehouse chili.

    Tom Papoutsis

    Tom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

    Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis: Next thing, we are going to cut our green bell pepper. Id like to take my top, cut my top off, and of course as you know these have all been washed, dont worry, I am not going to poison the firemen tonight, although they might scratch their head and say, What am I eating?

    We take the center, pull the center out, my nice little pile going here, get all the seeds out of there. If you want to you can wash them out, this one looks pretty good, there is not a whole lot of seeds sticking around, basically all I do is cut that in half. Then I will take and I will start stripping this thing down, and when I say, strip it down, I am going to cut it into strips just like this. A good sharp knife is very important when you are in the kitchen, there we go. You can see how easy this knife cuts, and thats because I keep my knives real nice and sharp.

    So, what we are going to do is basically if I want to speed this up, I can just chop them like this, but we are going to dice the green pepper the same way we did the onion, there we go, thats done. We are going to put our pepper over to the side here. As far as the top goes, do not throw the top away, chop it up with the rest of it, just chop it, and then what Id like to do is turn it and just turn another direction, give it a couple of more hits and you are back to square one, there we go.