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Daily Business Report-Feb. 12, 2018

Daily Business Report-Feb. 12, 2018

The Blended Burger prepared at SDSU. (Photo courtesy of SDSU)

James Beard Foundation Awards

SDSU Kitchen Seventh Place in

‘Blended Burger’ Competition

By Cory Marshall | SDSU NewsCenter

There’s a certain sound — more than just a sizzle — synonymous with grilling a burger. There’s the initial sear when the patty hits the smoky surface, the scraping of the spatula against the grill, and—at least in the case of the culinary crew inside San Diego State University’s University Towers Kitchen (UTK)—the consistent orders that come from creating an award-winning dish.

Recently, the prestigious James Beard Foundation recognized the UTK team for their blended burger, which placed seventh in the foundation’s national “Blended Burger Project: Campus Edition” competition.

The contest, open exclusively to chefs at colleges and universities across the country, challenged contestants to create a blended burger by combining a protein of their choosing, with at least 25 percent finely chopped and freshly cultivated mushrooms.

The competition ran from Sep. 4 to Dec. 15, 2017.

“Until now, the Blended Burger Project has been a summer-long initiative for all chefs,” said Steve Solomon, foodservice director of The Mushroom Council. “The new ‘Blended Burger Project: Campus Edition’ focused solely on colleges and universities to highlight the great culinary work happening on college campuses and acknowledge that these campuses have been leaders in culinary trends and sustainable food practices. We are impressed with the level of participation and the creative blended burgers shared by leading colleges and universities across the country like San Diego State University.”

John Zamora, chef de cuisine at UTK, pulled from his background in Pacific Rim cuisine to create the unique fusion of flavors—pureeing mushrooms and onions before sautéing the mixture. Once the mushroom-onion combination is cooled, Zamora adds certified angus beef and dried Hondashi, a seasoning typically used in miso soup and other vegetable stews.

The burger is assembled on a buttery brioche bun topped with aged cheddar, shredded lettuce, Roma tomatoes, tempura sliced pickles, and finished with a roasted garlic pepper aioli.

“Participating in national culinary competitions gives us the opportunity to grow in our craft,” said Zamora. “This was truly a team effort, and as a team we feel honored to take part in the JBF burger project.”

Blended-burgers came about as a way to move toward more plant-based entrées. By reducing beef consumption, less water is used in the growing and raising of the ingredients. According to industry experts, the end result is more sustainably sound.

UTK has served the award-winning burger since the beginning of the fall 2017 semester. A popular dish, it is now a permanent menu item.


Water Department Faces Audit

After Years of Lax Oversight

Voice of San Diego

The city of San Diego’s water billing mess has been big news in recent weeks, leading a watchdog committee to ask the city’s independent auditor to look into the issue.

But a leader in the city’s water department warned the committee at a recent meeting not to look into the city’s smart meter program, which some residents suspect is part of the problem. The committee agreed not to audit the smart meter program, and one of the votes not to came from a committee member who used to run the program.

Read more…


The San Diego Community College District office in Mission Valley.

The San Diego Community College District office in Mission Valley.

San Diego Community College District

Earns Highest Possible Bond Rating

Standard & Poor’s has raised the bond rating of the San Diego Community College District from AA+ to AAA — the highest level possible. The district is now California’s only community college district — whose funding is based on student attendance — that has secured the highest possible ratings not only from S&P but also from Moody’s Investors Service.

District officials said the high rating could potentially lead to millions of dollars in savings to local taxpayers.

S&P noted the district’s strong reserves and responsible funding of its pension obligations. Pension obligations are being planned for and met, according to district officials, who said cash reserves equal approximately 7 percent of the district’s general fund expenses, exceeding both state and district policy. Total General Fund reserves — including cash and non-cash sources — are even higher at 10 percent.

“When bond ratings are high, everybody wins,” said Chancellor Constance M. Carroll. “The district is able to sell its bonds quickly in order to fund the construction projects approved by the voters, and the taxpayers win when there are tax refunds during bond refinancing. And of course, the students win by having access to excellent new facilities and instructional equipment.”


Children Affected by Prenatal Drinking

More Numerous than Previously Estimated

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine found a significant number of children across four regions in the United States were determined to have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The new findings may represent more accurate prevalence estimates of FASD among the general population than prior research. The study is published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 6,000 first-graders in the Pacific Southwest, Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Southeast regions of the U.S. were evaluated. Researchers found that one to 5 percent of the children were determined to have FASD.

Read more…


Legislators Announce ‘Safe Youth Football Act’

to Protect Children from Brain Injury

Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) announced the “Safe Youth Football Act,” which will protect children from brain injury by establishing a minimum age to play in organized tackle football programs. This bill would follow the advice of medical professions and allow high-contact elements from football programs only at the high school level. This standard will prevent young athletes from sustaining long-term brain damage caused by repetitive tackling, hitting and blocking.

The Safe Youth Football Act will be considered in the spring of 2018. If enacted, California would be the first state in the nation to set a minimum age requirement for youth tackle football. Similar legislation has been proposed in the states of Illinois, Maryland and New York.


San Diego Continuing Education

President Honored with Leadership Award

Carlos O. Turner Cortez

Carlos O. Turner Cortez

Carlos O. Turner Cortez, president of San Diego Continuing Education, has been presented the Excellence in Continuing Education award by the Association of Community and Continuing Education.

The association said Turner Cortez received the award because of the profound effect he has made in the continuing education field by authoring and spear-heading the production of a comprehensive report of California Community College noncredit offerings: “The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California.”

Turner Cortez is the only president of a noncredit organization in the state to receive the recognition.

San Diego Continuing Education is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District and is the largest provider of noncredit education in California.


Personnel Announcements

Jenny Chien Appointed to State Advisory Panel

Jenny Chien

Jenny Chien

Jenny Chien, 32, of Carlsbad, has been appointed to the Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel by Gov. Jerry Brown. Chien has been a teacher at the Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Mathematics in the Vista Unified School District since 2007. She is a member of the California Science Teachers Association, K-12 Alliance Early Implementer Initiative, California Teachers Association and the Vista Teachers Association.

Chien earned a Master of Education degree in elementary education from the University of California, San Diego. The position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Chien is a Democrat.

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