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Thursday, December 24, 2015

The JCM Examines How Technology is Reinventing Food

Posted By on Thu, Dec 24, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Contemporary Jewish Museum/Instagram

Since the invention of the pulley, the wedge, and the inclined plane, virtually every human technology has been applied to. While this has saddled us with the industrialized octopus that is agribusiness, flavorless pink tomatoes and all, the move toward a world where nine billion people eat tasty, nutritious food will require more tech, not less. 

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Computer-Curated Culinary Creations, with IBM's Chef Watson

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 2:30 PM

  • Image Courtesy
Some say that one of the key differences between humans and computers is the ability to be creative — to devise something as unprecedented as a Jackson Pollock or influential as Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Sure, a PC can process at incredible speeds, but what role does it have in cultural or culinary creativity?

A rather large one, as it turns out.

This Thursday, October 1st, IBM’s Chef Watson (the same cognitive system that won Jeopardy! in 2011) will be showing off in the kitchen in front of an intimate gathering of IBM executives and partners. The event, which will take place at SF’s Cookhouse, is being organized by the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in partnership with IBM, who just announced last week that they're preparing to open a Watson office in SF.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Explosion of Freshness at Origami Market

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Ali Wunderman

Fast casual is the latest sweetheart term of the culinary world, designating an eatery that’s somewhere between fast food and traditional casual dining. Chipotle is the standard restaurant used to exemplify the term for people like me who don’t really understand it, but SOMA’s new Origami Market has perfected it.

It's the brainchild of local restaurateur Kash Feng, who has spent years working on a way to bring healthy, Japanese/Asian-inspired food to the masses. Sitting just across the street from Zynga and adjacent to sister restaurant Omakase, Feng’s latest venture is in the perfect spot to compete with free lunches offered by neighboring tech companies.

And compete it does (not that anyone is trying to give me free lunches). I stopped in for a meal less than a week after they opened to see what fast casual Japanese food looks like in action. My first impression was of a clean, spacious restaurant with helpful staff and delightful origami-inspired decorations. Definitely not Chipotle-casual.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

The End of Free Food for Tech Workers?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Art in Airbnb's employee cafeteria - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Art in Airbnb's employee cafeteria

The first time I ate at the Googleplex in Mountain View, sometime around 2010, I was with an engineering friend who took me to several cafes. Our plan was to have lunch followed by a second lunch, followed by dessert. One of the cafes served Basque food, which at the time sounded so absurdly specific — not Spanish food, Basque — that I laughed out loud. It meant nothing to the hungry Googlers, whose only concern was that you don't "piggyback" but badge in to every door. I've eaten there three or four times, plus at least once or twice at Google's S.F. office — and at Twitter and Airbnb, too. Nothing's quite like the Googleplex, which feels close to what the Soviet Union hoped lunchtime would be like under a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Yes, tech workers can bring their dogs in, and get on-site dry-cleaning, massages, trips to the ball pit, and God-only-knows what else. But the food is the best perk, the bottomless-mimosa principle applied to everything. It's meant to make you more efficient, so that you don't fritter time away by dashing off-campus into Mountain View, but it's also intended to keep you so happy that you don't peel off and form your own start-up with all the intellectual capital rattling around between your ears.

And now it may be coming to an end. The free part, anyway.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Top Chef and Environmentalist Call On Silicon Valley For Clean Cooking Solutions

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Mushroom tacos made by Chef José Andrés' team on a solar powered stove. - ALICE DISHES
  • Alice Dishes
  • Mushroom tacos made by Chef José Andrés' team on a solar powered stove.

Chef José Andrés
and Kirk Smith MPH, PhD, want Silicon Valley to turn its attention to solving a food-related problem that has nothing to do with plant-based proteins and everything to do with reducing the pollution and health problems caused by cooking over an open fire.

According to Dr. Smith’s statistics, at least 40 percent of the world’s population still cooks using solid fuel and an open flame. This leads to environmental pollution and individual health and respiratory issues for those who cook — often women — and even their infants, who are often strapped to them as they work in the kitchen.

The duo were speaking on a panel at Bite Silicon Valley over the weekend – a new conference which explores where our food will come from as populations increase, looks at the innovations that will change the way people consume and prepare food, and brings chefs and winemakers together to show off their wares.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Stop Ordering Taco Bell From Postmates, San Francisco

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 4:58 PM

Taco Bell: just stop. - FLICKER/JEEPERSMEDIA
A list landed in my inbox today from Postmates, the app that lets you hire your fellow citizens to pick up takeout for you at pretty much every restaurant in the city. The list was of the  top places that San Franciscans ordered delivery from in 2014.

It's a fine list, as these things go, heavy on the Mexican food as to be expected in the city. I was pleased to see how many people are ordering Bob's Donuts for delivery. There is one item on the list that is inexcusable, however. Why the hell is Taco Bell on there?

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Hungover Citizens, Rejoice: Breakfast Burrito Delivery Comes to S.F. Via Sprig

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 8:01 AM

The next time you're hungover, a breakfast burrito could magically appear at your door with a few clicks of an app. - SHUTTERSTOCK/FARBLED
  • Shutterstock/farbled
  • The next time you're hungover, a breakfast burrito could magically appear at your door with a few clicks of an app.

I can't really count the number of mornings I've spent lying in bed with a hangover, wishing against hope that someone would bring me brunch without me having to spend the $$$$ to get delivery from Postmates. And now food delivery service Sprig has answered my prayers. The popular app, which brings healthyish dinners to your door in around 10-15 minutes, is now delivering brunch on the weekends.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Yelp Is Not Up to Hanky Panky in Reviews, Reports Federal Trade Commission

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Yelp, the review site that industry folks love to hate, has always faced its share of rumors that it gives restaurants better placement in exchange for ad dollars.

But after an exhaustive survey, the Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Yelp is in the clear: not charging extra money for better page placement, removing good reviews from restaurants that don't pay for advertising, or anything else that the S.F.-based site has been accused of over the years.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Aquaponics: The Brighter, Greener Food System at The Perennial

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Red-veined lemon sorrel from Viridis, an aquaponic farm in Watsonville. Green in more ways than one. - OMAR MAMOON
  • Omar Mamoon
  • Red-veined lemon sorrel from Viridis, an aquaponic farm in Watsonville. Green in more ways than one.

When it opens in mid-Market in early 2015, The Perennial will be a restaurant whose mission is to serve delicious food while being as sustainable and green as possible. It sounds San Francisco enough, but in a world of increasing CO2 gas emissions and in a state in the state of drought, it’s more important than ever that everyone does their part to lower their environmental impact.

The team at The Perennial's helm is husband-and-wife restaurateurs and authors Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, founders of Mission Chinese Food. The duo is raising the bar for restaurant environmentalism by building an aquaponic greenhouse in Oakland where food scraps from the kitchen will be turned into fresh, organic ingredients for the restaurant. Learn more details about this closed-loop process in their Kickstarter video, which is raising money for their ambitious goal.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Pretty Soon the Army May Be Feeding Its Troops 3D-Printed Food

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 2:02 PM

3D-printed coffee cups are here, are 3D-printed rations next? - FLICKR/CREATIVE_TOOLS

From prosthetic limbs to makeup, 3D printing is already coming in handy for a variety of purposes. And 3D-printed food is no longer a thing of the future. As NPR reports, the Army is working on ways to use 3D-printed food as a practical way to help soldiers get the nutrition they need.

The idea is not only that the food will be 3D-printed but that it will correspond to a sensor that detects when soldiers are lacking in one area of nutrition (like, say, potassium).

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"