Midland Appliance partners with Vancouver Firefighter Charities to host Fire in the Kitchen events
Words Don Descoteau
Photography Lia Crowe
During a late spring Fire in the Kitchen fundraiser held at Midland Appliance in Langley, guests could be forgiven for thinking they had mistakenly walked into a fine-dining establishment.
On that night it was firefighters who were expertly preparing and serving a multi-course meal worthy of praise from the most discerning of foodies. Using state-of-the-art cooking and food preparation equipment in Midland’s unique live kitchen space, the first responders volunteering showed a dual passion for good food and educating attendees about firefighter-led charitable programs.
Midland Appliance’s Fire in the Kitchen fundraisers (officially called Fire in Your Kitchen) are well suited for any of the company’s three live kitchens—located in Langley, Vancouver and Richmond. And they are a key ingredient in the blossoming partnership between Midland Appliance and Vancouver Firefighter Charities (VFC), which also co-ordinates Snacks for Kids, a program to ensure Vancouver students don’t go hungry.
“We enjoy hosting casual networking events and connecting with our clients,” says Jaclyn St. Pierre, Midland’s senior manager of brand and marketing. “Partnering with VFC to support the Snacks for Kids program [through the Fire in the Kitchen fundraisers] has allowed us to combine these relationship-building events with purpose-driven causes. Our guests are excited to attend to support the program and learn more about it.”
As well as the designers, architects, builders, contractors, developers and homeowners who attend other special events in its showrooms, Midland’s community and media partners get invited to experience the Fire in the Kitchen events.
Guests enthusiastically chat with the firefighters as they chop, flambé and plate up the delicious items, and savoury aromas waft through the room. This entertaining blend of sight, sound and scent often prompts social media influencers to capture the action live.
“They’re extremely talented chefs, the whole Fire in the Kitchen team. You’ll see all the ingredients laid out on the island and they just transform them into these amazing dishes,” says Jaclyn.
Providing gourmet home- and firehall-based dinners for charitable donors has long been one of the ways VFC funds its programs. Upon learning about the fundraising dinners and Snacks for Kids program, Jaclyn saw Midland facilities as a perfect fit for hosting the fundraisers, and a match for the values of its brand, leadership and staff.
Midland president/CEO Lee Methot, in particular, has a rich family history and connections with the BC fire service, Jaclyn says.
As of the end of June, Fire in the Kitchen events at Midland had raised more than $35,000 for VFC and Snacks for Kids. Adding to that impact, attendees often book the firefighter chefs for private home dinners, illustrating another mutual benefit of the relationship.
A provider of luxury home appliances for residential development projects around the Lower Mainland, Midland celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024 and has a tradition of supporting community groups. While it continues to sponsor local teams and organizations, the company’s partnerships with broader children’s charities are helping Midland meet its goal of making a bigger impact, Jaclyn says.
In addition to VFC’s Snacks for Kids program, Midland also partners on initiatives to support fundraisers for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Kids Help Phone.
Vancouver firefighter and Snacks for Kids program co-ordinator Eric Himmelman likes the synergies created through hosting Fire in the Kitchen events at Midland locations.
“Being able to speak face to face with people in our community about the needs of our programs adds so much value and impact, both in terms of building awareness and in getting support for our programs,” he says.
Charitable activities like Fire in the Kitchen also allow firefighters to serve the community in a fun and creative way.
“I know how excited we as firefighters get for these programs because they’re just so unique,” Eric says. Participants relish the chance to work in a high-end kitchen environment with talented firefighters like Nick Levesque, who is also a Red Seal chef.
Not only is Fire in the Kitchen popular with residential development professionals, Jaclyn says, Midland’s manufacturer partners have co-sponsored events, with firefighter chefs able to customize menus spotlighting specific products or brands. At the Langley event, for example, all the dishes were prepared using a built-in sous vide feature on a 48-inch dual-fuel professional range with induction.
Relationships with clients, brand partners and community have always been important to Midland, and it has built a solid one with VFC, Jaclyn notes. As well as hosting Fire in the Kitchen, the company helped connect VFC to a Vancouver wholesaler, which helped lower the program’s food costs and allowed the group to expand its reach in Metro Vancouver.
That help has been timely. Snacks for Kids, which just finished its 10th year, supported a record 5,000 students in more than 60 Vancouver schools and after-school programs in 2022-23.
Midland aims to host Fire in the Kitchen or related fundraisers in its live kitchens on a regular basis. For details on upcoming events, visit or call one of their showrooms in Richmond, Vancouver or Langley, and to learn more about Midland’s work in the community, visit midlandappliance.com/community-involvement and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
More details on VFC and its programs can be found at vancouverfirefighters.ca.