The next cooking show craze? Forney firefighters start YouTube series

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FORNEY -- Mason Atkins freely admits he used to know nothing about cooking.

"My specialty was Pop Tarts and ramen noodles."

But after becoming a firefighter three years ago he was forced to learn in order to contribute to the meal-serving at his station.  Now, he's the host of a cooking show!

Okay, so it's not quite something you'll find on Food Network--at least not yet.  It's a series on YouTube called Open Flame, an idea that was cooked up by the City of Forney.  Firefighters have to do their own grocery shopping and make their own breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day anyway, so why not film it?

Atkins says the recipes on Open Flame mostly come from his coworkers, and he's been studying professional cooking shows a little more closely since being tabbed as the host.

"Big fan of the "Chopped" series, tried to go off that.  "Guy's Grocery Games," really big fan of that.

"It's a lot of effort that goes into [hosting].  You're having to talk, you're having to ask questions, you're having to get people to talk that probably are getting out of their comfort zone doing a video."

Based on the sizzling response so far, that effort has been worth it.

"People are coming up, 'You need to cook this!' 'You need to cook this!' 'You need to cook this!' I'm like, 'Okay, one at a time.'  I've even had guys from neighboring departments say, 'Y'all need to do guest appearances so we can get in on it!'  Everybody's pretty excited about it."

And more than just giving people meal ideas, Atkins says it's a chance to give the community a little peek into firehouse life.

"I really think it shows our brotherhood aspect and our aspect of family in the fire service, because we love hanging out with each other, we love eating meals together."

But don't expect to see any fire tricks or anything like that with their cooking.  After all, they don't want to have to interrupt their own dinner to come save you from yours!

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