Firefighter's cooking falls short of top prize

By Bob Albrecht, Columbian Staff Reporter

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— Dave Wrast’s “Thai Beef Salad” was good, but apparently not New York-good.

Wrast, who appeared last week on “Live with Regis & Kelly” as part of the show’s “Coast to Coast Firehouse Cookoff,” said he learned Tuesday he did not win the contest. Had Wrast won, he would have been flown to New York to make a live appearance on the show, received $10,000 and had his recipe published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

“Oh, well. What are you going to do?” he said Tuesday.

The 41-year-old Vancouver firefighter called the experience “interesting” and “fun.”

“A lot of my friends said they voted,” Wrast said. “They were working with other people to try and get me voted.”

Wrast was one of five selected to earn a spot in the cook-off’s beef category.

A snippet of Wrast cooking appeared on the show Friday. He submitted a two-minute video that was posted to the show’s website, http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/regisandkelly/contests/cookoff2010/vote.html.

“For me, it was hard to do the impromptu video shoot in front of the camera,” Wrast said.

Wrast, who is based at Vancouver Fire Department Station 3, draws rave reviews for his cooking around the department.

“He’s a good guy and a good cook,” said Jim Flaherty, a Vancouver fire spokesman. “He’s one of the few creative culinary guys we have.”