Friday , 22 June 2018

McKinney Firehouse Recipes: Part 5 Features Gary `Biggun’ Carpenter of Fire Station #1

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

Last week I ate Asian food twice. Once was at a Chinese restaurant in Dallas, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, and once at Firehouse #1 where Gary Carpenter confirmed once more that some of the best cooks are in McKinney’s fire stations!

His Asian Stir Fry was excellent and inventive – and showcased a cook who loves his craft.

We have now visited five of McKinney’s eight firehouses …

In every one, the chefs truly love what they do and the standard of cooking is 5 star!

It is also very evident that those who sign up to serve the public as firefighters have a deep altruistic desire to help the public when it is most needed.

Some, like Gary Carpenter have wanted to do nothing else. Others have come to their calling after travelling down different roads.

We were warmly welcomed at every fire station and tasted remarkable food.
I feel very privileged to have been invited into their kitchens.

I am repeating the one piece of advice that every firefighter “chef” gave us….

“Don’t leave the stove or burners on when you are not around, or paying attention, or we will be putting out a fire in your kitchen!”

Now go ahead and enjoy Gary’s wonderful Asian Stir Fry!

“Any kinda meat you want”

1 bag of rice (for however many people you are feeding)
1-3 lbs. of meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1-2 bags of stir-fry veggies (frozen or fresh)
1 onion
1 bottle of stir-fry sauce (I like the spicy Szechuan)
Soy sauce/Teriyaki sauce
4-6 eggs
Oil and butter

1. Cook the rice per the instructions.
2. You can pre-cut the meat or just cook it outright. Either way, you’re gonna slice it up for the final step. Cook the meat to your liking. Beef can be cooked medium but make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
3. While the meat is cooking, you can prepare the veggies and slice the onion.
4. When the meat is finished, place it in a bowl or dish and cover. You can add a splash of your stir-fry sauce to mix in the meat to let it soak.
5. Now to cook the veggies…. Using the same pan (or griddle), cook the veggies to your liking (crispy or soft). Add soy sauce, salt and pepper and a little more stir-fry sauce. When this is done, just simply put the veggies in the same bowl or dish as the meat is in. Cover this back up.
6. By this time, the rice should be ready. Lightly oil the pan (as well as a tablespoon of butter), and dump the cooked rice in. Add most of the stir-fry sauce onto the rice and mix the rice evenly. Let the rice cook a little longer, tossing the rice so it doesn’t burn. Now make the rice a huge doughnut by opening a hole in the middle and lightly oil the center. This is where the eggs are going to be scrambled. Cook the eggs ‘til they just start to burn and mix it with the rice.
7. Finally, It’s time to throw everything together. Simply dump the meat and veggies in with the rice and mix it around. Place this in a serving dish and enjoy it with a side of egg rolls or pot stickers.

This is just a basic recipe… You can add or subtract anything you want.I’ve always said…



– Gary “Biggun” Carpenter

About The McKinney Fire Department
The McKinney Fire Department is made up of 164 total personnel. While 20 employees work in various capacities on staff, the majority of MFD personnel are professional firefighters, assigned to emergency response duties. Each of the 144 firefighters is trained as emergency medical responders as well, with most being certified paramedics. The MFD consists of eight fire stations covering the 62.9 square miles in the city, as well as the designated extraterritorial jurisdiction. McKinney firefighters responded to a total of 9,794 calls in 2011.

Firefighters in McKinney work a schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. During the 24 hours on duty, the crews respond to emergency calls, attend mandatory training, and provide public education activities such as station tours and community training. In addition to these duties, they operate their “household” by performing day-to-day routines, including grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?

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