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'Firehouse Cheesesteak' lands Lombard firefighter on WGN TV

LOMBARD – A firefighter has a busy job, making it important to find meal recipes that are both quick and fulfilling, said Bob Hopper, firefighter/paramedic for the Lombard Fire Department.

“We’re a pretty busy department, and most times, we want to get something together quick,” said Hopper, who last week was featured on WGN News for his cheese steak recipe.

Among his colleagues in the firehouse, Hopper is known for his satisfying recipes – including his Firehouse Cheesesteak. The popularity of the sandwich recently prompted Hopper to submit the recipe to WGN News’ mid-day segment, “Lunchbreak” with Dina Bair.

“All the guys love this sandwich,” said Hopper, who has been making the recipe for roughly a year. “I sent it in and next thing I know, I got on.”

His live television debut was a cool experience, Hopper said, adding that it was a bit nerve-wracking making a cheesesteak recipe for Bair.

“She made me a little nervous because she is originally from Philadelphia,” he said.

Overall, Hopper said, the recipe is simple, but making it with quality ingredients like fresh beef is what makes it work.

“We always talk about what we’re going to have for lunch and the guys (often) have a taste for cheesesteaks,” he said.

Hopper, who has been with the department for seven years, said his favorite food is buffalo wings. He has recently been making a buffalo ranch chicken wrap that his fellow firefighters enjoy.

Hopper also enjoys making chili, and has the accolades to prove it. He has won more than half-a-dozen chili cookoffs, he said, including the last two years at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park and at Rock Bottom Brewery in both Lombard and Orland Park.

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