Life Food

Firefighters serve the hungry masses breakfast

By Marilou Yampolsky, Special to the Camrose Canadian

Camrose volunteer firefighter Ricardo Whittingham serves up pancakes during the Camrose Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast in Camrose on May 7. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian

Camrose volunteer firefighter Ricardo Whittingham serves up pancakes during the Camrose Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast in Camrose on May 7. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian

More than 2,500 eggs, 470 pounds of sausage, a secret recipe and some down-home community spirit came together on Sunday at the Camrose Fire Department Pancake breakfast.   


Camrose smoke eaters have fed the Camrose community twice a year for 40 years. It takes two deep fryers, six grills and all the help they can get to serve up this delicious meal. This year they served breakfast to 1,150 people. 

“It’s great to give back to the community, that’s why we do it,” said  committee chairman Captain Warren Rosland. “Working with the members is a big deal to me, it definitely takes teamwork to put this on.  Seeing the crowds and hearing their feedback makes it all worth it”.   

At each breakfast the fire department leaves out a donation boot to raise money for a charity of their choice. This year the money raised goes towards sponsoring some members who are riding to Leduc and back in the MS bike tour. It’s nice to see a group like the fire department giving back to other important groups like the MS Society of Canada. 

The day is tailor made for families. 

The fire hall was filled with young families and their kids with the mickey mouse and snowman shaped pancakes a big hit as always. The real fun for kids, however, is climbing on the trucks after they’re done eating. If you were there at just the right time, Captain Camrose stopped by to provide some table side entertainment.  

This is a family event for firefighters as well. Their kids can always be seen helping with set up, flipping pancakes or handing out the kids fire hats and colouring books. They also get the opportunity to leave the pancake brigade and enjoy breakfast with their family. 

While I was there with my family one small child was looking at the firefighters lockers where their gear is hanging ready for action at any moment. A firefighter walked over to the dad and offered the let the small child try on the equipment. The look on that child’s face was priceless and it was clear that both father and son left that day with a new hero in their books. I expect that child will be asking to be a firefighter when he grows up, and it all started with a plate of pancakes.   

What makes these pancakes taste so good you wonder? I tried to find out the secret recipe to share with you, but it’s just that, a secret. There was no way they were giving up the ingredient list. Perhaps it’s the handyman special paint mixer they use to mix the batter? I even tried to get a peek at the grocery list, but these guys wouldn’t give it up.   

The planning for the breakfast starts way before the day of the event. Each breakfast a committee of two firefighters takes the lead and pays attention to every detail. This year the committee was Captain Rosland and firefighter Mike Kambeitz. Rosland was quick to comment that the success of the planning is credit to the previous planner keeping a good file, and some community ambassadors who always step up to show their support. 

“In the 40 years we’ve been doing these pancake breakfasts we are always impressed by the support of the Camrose community,” said Chief Peter Krich

“We do this to connect. And being a part of this community is our priority”

Although the event starts at 8 a.m., the set up begins at 6 a.m. as the team of firefighters drive the trucks out onto the pavement to make room for the 58 tables and 348 chairs required to seat the day’s guests.  The coffee is on, grills heat up, the magic pancake batter is mixed, eggs are cracked and sausages are cooking. It’s a hive of activity all to say thanks to a supportive community that gives back to a good cause like the MS bike tour.   

The next breakfast will be in the fall for Fire Prevention week, stay tuned for more details! and please “like” Marilous pampered chef on facebook 

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