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Chef Alex Guarnaschelli announces delicious pancake initiative with Nutella to help America's firehouses

Fox News Digital spoke with New York-based celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli about her "Stacks for Giving Back" program with Nutella to support local firefighters across America.

FIRST ON FOX: Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli has announced a new initiative with Nutella to help America's firehouses from coast to coast through a pancake fundraiser.

And a favorite pancake recipe of hers features prominently.

The New York-based chef is spearheading a "Stacks for Giving Back" program that supports firehouses across the U.S. through pancake fundraiser breakfasts. 


"I'm a native New Yorker, so I feel like I've always been aware of firetrucks, of the sound of them, of seeing firefighters and what they do — they're an essential part of any community," she told Fox News Digital in an on-camera interview about the importance of firefighters.

"And I've seen lots of signs and attended pancake breakfasts [over the years]," she added. But "I never really thought about the larger scope of something like this. I think we associate pancake breakfasts with firehouses. And I've learned that one firefighter's gear tailored to that person for safety purposes can cost up to $4,000." (SEE the video at the top of this article.)

She added, "Then imagine that a fire truck costs $1 million."

In terms of fundraising for America's firehouses, she said that with this "Stacks for Giving Back program, we've got a lot of pancakes to make. You know what I mean?"

Consumers can nominate their local fire department for a chance to receive a special Nutella Pancake Breakfast Kit "to take their next pancake breakfast fundraiser to the next level," according to the program's press release. 

"Fire departments face many challenges to afford equipment, recruit and retain firefighters, and keep up with high-pressure demands due to increasing call volume, new training requirements and much more," the program noted. 

"With their strong ties to the local community and to food culture, firefighters are often bonded through shared meals and a penchant for fundraising with — you guessed it — pancake breakfasts."


Local fire departments nominated for the fundraising program will get "a branded apron, spatula, batter dispenser, jars of Nutella, Krusteaz pancake mix and more."

Guarnaschelli shared the "creative spark" for her own new pancake recipe. 

"We fold whipped fluffy egg whites into a pretty traditional buttermilk pancake recipe, which adds protein — and which we always love for breakfast — but it also creates this thicker pancake that has this kind of fluffy, almost cloud-like texture. And it's not overly sweet. And then we have that little spread of Nutella with the sort of nuttiness of it. On top. It really feels like, OK, this is totally a pancake."

She said that this is, at the same time, "totally another take on a pancake." 

She shared her excitement at "developing a recipe, in partnership with Nutella, and creating such a critical way of giving back to every community in America — and then [doing] a call to action, which is that everybody can nominate their local firehouse to participate in this program. I just love it, honestly."

She added, "I rarely feel like everything, anything, we do checks all the boxes. But this just about does it. And my daughter helped me with the recipe, so that was nice, too."

Her daughter is 16, she noted — and in a lighter moment riffed about life with a teenager. "Some days, she likes me. Some day, she's like, ‘Who are you again?’"

Guarnaschelli said she's experimented in the past with "making these fluffy pancakes."

Her opportunity to partner with Nutella "just felt like the perfect moment," she said, to revive her pancake idea. "I thought, How do firefighters begin their day? What kind of breakfast do they have? What kind of pancake breakfast?"

She added, "I think a lot of Americans associate pancakes with fundraisers for firehouses — and want to find a way to add the protein. I mean, two thirds of the protein in an egg is in the white. And I just thought, Wait a minute. This adds tons of protein, but it also just gives this wonderful, fluffy, light texture."


She said she wanted "these pancakes to just be a little different. I don't think it's just Stacks for Giving Back. I think the concept of a pancake has to come full circle with this. And, you know, I was making them — and we steamed them a little. We browned them a little bit, but then covered them and slow-cooked them for a number of minutes."

And so, she continued, "I was making them and they smelled so good. And my daughter was like, ‘Oh, what are you making?’ And I was like, 'Wouldn't you like to know?'"

"And then," added Guarnaschelli, "just spreading that little layer of Nutella on top — something happened."

She added, "You can eat it with a fork and knife … [and] we put some fresh raspberries on top. I love the crunchy seeds and the tartness of the fruit. Then also, you could kind of pick it up and almost have it like an individual experience. I like that those aspects of developing the recipe felt really cool and modern to me."

She noted that the addition of protein to her pancake recipe is really important.


Sure, she said, "I could go to the fridge and eat a chicken breast for breakfast … for that straight protein."

But with the pancakes, she said, "I kind of want that morning beginning, that bit of joy. So these pancakes are adding all the whites and making them fluffier. Making them more exciting. Making them almost more interactive and making them so you could have one pancake and feel like you might have had a stack."

She said, "Part of what makes things healthy is not just the ingredients we cook with, but the portion, right? The quantity — and reaching that sense of satisfaction and satiety with a reasonable portion is something we're always looking for."

Guarnaschelli also said, "I want my daughter to associate" this "with me" — the notion of giving to others and helping others. 

"I think it's part of being well-rounded, so to speak," she said. "I almost feel like if we give back to others, we're also taking care of ourselves. I like to tell myself that that's true and hope that I don't sound corny. Because I truly feel that way."

Guarnaschelli said firefighters aren't just important — they provide a "critical layer" of safety in each and every community. 

"I didn't know a fire truck, one fire truck, could cost upwards of $1 million. I didn't know that every firefighter's gear has to be specially tailored to that person," she said.

The New Yorker said she's grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. 

"To learn about something like firefighters and what they need, and to be a part of that, it's pretty good," she said. To "be helpful to this larger cause is pretty cool."

Guarnaschelli is recognized as one of America’s most accomplished top chefs. She is also an author and a popular TV personality on Food Network. 

Nutella is partnering with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the leading association representing the nation’s volunteer fire and emergency services, to award $25,000 in fire department grants. 

Anyone can learn more about the new Stacks for Giving Back initiative and nominate a deserving firehouse by going to

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