Solano County legalized home food popups. But 6 months later, chefs still can’t sell

When Solano County approved a new California law that would legalize home-based kitchen operations in April, it seemed like Cheska Kistner’s plans to open a restaurant in her Benicia home would finally come to fruition. The measure, California’s AB 626, allows for what are known as microenterprise food businesses, which Alameda County also made inroads toward legalizing yesterday. But no Bay Area county has yet fully implemented the 2018 law, leaving entrepreneurs like Kistner in limbo.

Under AB 626, cooks can legally sell up to 30 meals a day or 60 per week from their homes when their counties opt in and they have received a permit; their annual gross sales are capped at $50,000. The law has only been implemented in one county so far, Riverside. In Alameda County, many home kitchen operations have proliferated during the pandemic without the option to get proper permitting, leading to the health department cracking down on some.

Solano County is one of the furthest along in the Bay Area, even though the coronavirus pandemic caused officials to delay in-home inspections and permitting until shelter-at-home orders are lifted. What many people thought would be a short delay has lasted six months – and counting.

For Kistner, a personal chef and caterer on and off for nearly 30 years, that means waiting to expand her business beyond the current small number of carry-out orders she makes for family, friends and clients. She would like to recreate the model of her Philippines restaurant, Bale Ku Café, which means “my house” in her local dialect and is operated out of a home. Her Asian fusion dishes — including japchae, with sweet potato noodles and ribeye steak, and ningnang manuk, a grilled chicken and rice dish — generally cost $25 and feed two to three people.

With so many suffering financially during the pandemic, proponents say there couldn’t be a better time to launch the program.

“There are people who need to work, who want to work,” says Matthew Butler, a Vallejo cook who wants to start a home restaurant business. “This would definitely be a viable option for a lot of people.”

Home kitchen entrepreneur Cheska Kistner makes food at her home in Benicia, Calif., on Monday, October 12, 2020. Kistner is among an estimated 100 entrepreneurs waiting for Solano County to finish implementing a law that would allow them to establish legal home kitchen businesses.

Butler has spent the last 10 or so years catering parties and corporate events after working at restaurants throughout Solano and Contra Costa counties. That all came to a halt once the pandemic hit. While he has found catering work with a chef friend still servicing clients, he envisions creating his own home-based restaurant called Vondi’s, in honor of his late mother, where he would sell his Mediterranean braised beef with garlic mashed potatoes and Korean-style pork chops with bok choy. The only other food options in his neighborhood are fast food and burrito trucks, and he thinks it could represent a new revenue stream, especially with his kids at home distance learning.

To Supervisor Monica Brown, it is this type of caregiver scenario that initially seemed like a perfect fit for AB 626.

“When a constituent came and brought this forward, my first

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Mitch McConnell admits he hasn’t been inside the White House in months for safety reasons

Mitch McConnell; Donald Trump; Covid Memorial Project
Mitch McConnell; Donald Trump; Covid Memorial Project

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and the Covid Memorial Project Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

With President Donald Trump and many of his Republican allies in the White House having been infected with COVID-19, many of his critics are warning that setting foot inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could be a health threat. But one needn’t be a Trump critic to feel that way. None other than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has, in essence, admitted that he hasn’t been inside the White House in two months because of the lack of social distancing precautions.

“I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th,” McConnell said. “Because my impression was that their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I suggested that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

The remarks came at an event in Kentucky, streamed on Facebook.

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It was a striking admission, given that President Donald Trump has faced withering criticism for his failure to handle the pandemic in the United States, which has now killed more than 210,000 people. Critics have argued that the recent outbreak of cases at the White House, affecting many top officials including the president himself and which may have centered around the ceremony celebrating the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Other prominent Republicans who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to Trump, include long-time adviser Kellyanne Conway, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, Bill Stepien (Trump’s campaign director), Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, among others.

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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent


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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.

We’ll start with Regeneron:

Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received

Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.

“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.

The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.

“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.

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McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of how it has responded to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President Trump frequently, he hasn’t been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.

“Because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” he told reporters.

McConnell’s comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Senate doesn’t have a mask mandate, though most senators wear masks around the Capitol and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.

Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.

McConnell on Thursday appeared to take a veiled jab at the White

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McConnell hasn’t visited White House in 2 months over lax COVID-19 rules

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he has not been to the White House since August 6, citing the Trump administration’s lax COVID-19 protocols. 
  • “My impression was their approach to how to handle this was different than mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said.
  • The White House is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that’s seen dozens of people contract the virus, including President Donald Trump.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he has not been to the White House in more than two months, suggesting that the Trump administration’s lax COVID-19 protocols make him feel unsafe. 

The Kentucky Republican said that since early August he’s instead opted to speak with President Donald Trump by phone.

“I actually haven’t been to the White House since August the 6th because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different than mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky. 

Trump is currently infected with COVID-19 and the White House is dealing with an outbreak that’s seen at least 35 people contract the virus. The list of those who’ve been infected includes the first lady and a number of top aides to the president.  

The infections are largely suspected to be linked to a Sept. 26 event at the Rose Garden where Trump announced that he was nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. Many attendees could be seen without masks and there was a lack of social distancing. A number of those who went to the event, including Republican senators, have since tested positive. 

Though Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 just a week ago, he’s already back in the Oval Office despite the fact that he could still be contagious. Trump spent the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was transferred after his condition worsened last Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person with COVID-19 should not be around other people for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear. 

Trump downplayed the threat of COVID-19 for months prior to contracting the virus, and flouted public health recommendations such as wearing a mask and staying six feet away from others. Just two days before he tested positive, the president mocked former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate for routinely wearing a mask. 

It’s unclear whether the next two presidential debates will happen given that Trump has the virus and he rejected the possibility of holding a virtual debate to ensure everyone’s safety. 

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McConnell says he’s avoided the White House for months because of Covid concerns

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t gone to the White House since August because their approach to safety during the coronavirus pandemic “is different than mine.”

Speaking at an event in Erlanger, Kentucky, McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, suggested he didn’t think the Trump administration had been doing enough to keep the White House safe from Covid-19.

“I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th, because my impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said.

The remark came as the White House has been ravaged by the coronavirus, with the president, first lady, top advisers and numerous staffers testing positive for the disease in the past week.

McConnell made the comment when asked if he thought President Donald Trump should be more transparent about his health, given his positive coronavirus diagnosis and medical treatment.

“We talk a lot on the telephone. I think he’s perfectly fine. He seems normal,” McConnell said, adding that the focus of their talks has been Amy Coney Barrett, who begins her Senate confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court on Monday.

“We’re having numerous discussions on Judge Barrett and the way forward on that,” McConnell said.

McConnell was not present at the Sept. 26th Rose Garden event at the White House where Trump nominated Barrett. Numerous attendees, including Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, later testing positive for the coronavirus.

Julie Tsirkin contributed.

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McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence, Harris dodge direct answers in policy-focused debate Trump gambles with new stimulus strategy Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of how the administration has responded to the coronavirus.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE frequently, he hasn’t been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.

“Because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell’s comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump announced late last week that he had tested positive, and, since then, three GOP senators have also announced they were infected. Two of the three senators, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeInternal memo links 34 coronavirus cases to White House: report Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump’s illness doesn’t absolve him of responsibility MORE (Utah) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisCunningham uses environmental awards event to apologize to voters Internal memo links 34 coronavirus cases to White House: report The Hill’s Campaign Report: Pence, Harris square off in Salt Lake City MORE (N.C.), were at a Rose Garden event late last month where Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgPence blasts Harris’s ‘non-answer’ on packing Supreme Court Pence, Harris dodge direct answers in policy-focused debate Eric Trump claims his father ‘literally saved Christianity’ MORE.

The Senate implemented social distancing steps in May including spreading out caucus meetings and committee hearings. While Republicans still meet in person, in a larger room for lunch, Democrats have moved all their caucus meetings to phone calls.

The Senate doesn’t have a mask mandate, however, most senators wear masks around the Capitol, and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.

Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events, including Barrett’s nomination ceremony, where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.

Trump also hasn’t worn a mask at recent rallies. Before the president’s diagnosis, many White House officials were seen walking around without masks.

McConnell has brushed off calls for a formal testing program in the Senate, arguing that they have been able to contain the virus. He also appeared, on Thursday, to take a veiled jab at the

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Wow Bao’s Groundbreaking Dark Kitchen Initiative Surpasses 100 Locations Nationwide In Just Six Months

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the restaurant industry continues to navigate this challenging time, Wow Bao, the fast-casual Asian concept steaming up bao, potstickers and more, is proud to announce that its groundbreaking Dark Kitchen initiative has surpassed 100 locations nationwide in only a six month time frame, an unprecedented amount for the restaurant industry. The program, developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist restaurants and increase margins and profits, is now more vital than ever, as it has been a significant way to help restaurants survive this uncertain moment.

“In November 2019, we created a way to help restaurants grow top line sales and bottom line profits,” said Geoff Alexander, Wow Bao President & CEO. “Although we didn’t envision this initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say our Dark Kitchen platform is assisting operators to help pay rent and employ staff in order to survive this difficult time.”

Unlike Ghost Kitchens, which allow restaurants to rent space at larger kitchen facilities, Wow Bao’s model offers brick and mortar restaurants alternative sources of revenue by using their existing kitchen space to prepare Wow Bao’s menu offerings. Items are made and shipped frozen to the participating restaurants, prepared by the restaurant’s kitchen staff and made available to consumers through third-party delivery services including, DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates and Caviar.

The goal of Wow Bao’s Dark Kitchen is for operators to achieve a minimum of $2,000 in weekly sales within the first six weeks of launch. Multiple operating partners have already surpassed $5,000 in weekly sales; generating an annual run rate of $260,000 with a projected bottom line of more than $100,000. Additionally, the Dark Kitchen program revives the supply chain by increasing demand, thereby supporting farmers and food suppliers, as well as the operating restaurants, staff and third-party delivery services in the process.

“When we first started engaging with Wow Bao, our discussions quickly changed from ‘why do we want to do this?’ to ‘why wouldn’t we want to do this?’” said Buster Minshew of MFM Group, LLC. “From the onset, we were impressed with the quality of food and the simplicity of execution. We have looked at other Dark Kitchen concepts, but have not discovered any other that is so simple to get up and running. The initial investment is minimal; there is virtually zero prep required so it requires no additional labor, the training tools make it very easy for our teams to absorb into the operation and the food is fantastic. We are proud to be part of the Wow Bao Dark Kitchen team.”

“The Dark Kitchen program has been a seamless integration into our operations,” says Edmund Woo, Owner of Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, South Carolina. “I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost. The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain business.”

Seeing the direct and immediate

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White House OKs FDA asking for 2 months monitoring, likely delaying vaccine authorization past Election Day

The White House denied reports it had tried to block the new FDA guidance.

A spokesperson for the White House budget office denied those reports and said the approved guidance was never blocked and went through the normal review process.

Trump lashed out at the news on Twitter Tuesday night, writing, “New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!” He also tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.

In September, Trump had said that the White House might not approve the new guidance, given what it could mean in terms of timing. “We may or may not approve it,” he told reporters, suggesting the FDA was reacting to questions about White House pressure to act faster, saying it “was a political move more than anything else.”

The guidance was posted on the agency’s website on Tuesday and as part of a packet of background material posted ahead of the vaccine advisory board’s scheduled meeting on COVID vaccine candidates on Oct. 22.

The FDA is laying out criteria for an emergency authorization of a vaccine candidate, not a full approval, and has repeatedly sought to encourage the public it will make decisions based only on the science and data from clinical trials regardless of political pressure.

FDA officials have said they expect an emergency authorization to target specific populations at higher risk for the virus — including health care workers or older populations living in group settings — and that a vaccine would not be widely available outside those groups until into next year.

Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said it takes about a month and a half for some side effects or problems to present themselves.

“Most of the adverse events that you’re talking

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Woman transforms her drab kitchen while nine months pregnant

A mother-to-be has unveiled her stunning kitchen transformation – which she completed while almost nine months pregnant.

Dearbhaile Cooke, 29, from Belfast, got the keys to her new home when she was eight months gone and was desperate to renovate the kitchen before moving in and giving birth.

But rather than shell out on new units, Dearbhaile spent hours coating the dated pine doors a chic shade of black using Frenchic paint.

Dearbhaile Cooke, 29, from Belfast, pictured, got the keys to her new home when she was eight months pregnant and was desperate to renovate the kitchen before moving in and giving birth

Dearbhaile Cooke, 29, from Belfast, pictured, got the keys to her new home when she was eight months pregnant and was desperate to renovate the kitchen before moving in and giving birth

Pictured: the kitchen before its transformation, with pine units, grey worktops and multi-coloured wall and floor tiles

Pictured: the kitchen before its transformation, with pine units, grey worktops and multi-coloured wall and floor tiles

Rather than shell out on new units, Dearbhaile spent hours coated the dated pine doors a chic black using Frenchic paint

Rather than shell out on new units, Dearbhaile spent hours coated the dated pine doors a chic black using Frenchic paint

Dearbhaile said she is delighted with the end result, and it was worth the many hours she put into painting while nearly nine months pregnant

Dearbhaile said she is delighted with the end result, and it was worth the many hours she put into painting while nearly nine months pregnant

She and her fiancé Gary also replaced the worktop, tiles and floor – and Dearbhaile, already mother to a 10-year-old son, shared her handiwork on the Frenchic Fan Forum Facebook page, where fellow DIY enthusiasts raved over her stylish makeover.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Dearbhaile – who works part-time as a midwife and an aesthetic practitioner – claimed the laborious paint job helped ‘pass the time’ while she was heavily pregnant.

‘We wanted to have the house a home for our new arrival,’ she explained.

‘We planned on doing the whole downstairs and not worry so much about upstairs until after the baby is born. The house was very dated everything was wood and pine.  

Before
After

Speaking to FEMAIL, Dearbhaile – who works part-time as a midwife and an aesthetic practitioner – claimed the laborious paint job helped ‘pass the time’ while she was heavily pregnant. Pictured: the kitchen and dining area before and after its makeover

‘I did all the painting myself. My dad took all the cupboard doors off for me. It took four coats, and I went through two tins of Blackjack, costing £54.

‘I couldn’t say how long it took but all the hours I spent, it was a lot! I helped my sister paint my brother’s kitchen in the exact same paint as a surprise for his 40th – we did this in one day while he was at work, but there were four of us working together so that was doable!

‘I loved the paint and colour from then. As I had four weeks to my due date I thought it would help pass the end of the pregnancy for me and make these last weeks go quicker; it certainly did! Some days I was there from 11am to 8pm that night.’ 

The couple sourced a new worktop for just over £200 and bought their wall and floor tiles from a local Belfast supplier, Right Price Tiles. She also sprayed the existing unit handles in chrome

The couple sourced a new worktop for just over £200 and bought their wall and floor tiles from a local Belfast supplier, Right Price Tiles. She also sprayed the existing unit handles in chrome

Dearbhaile admitted she was shocked by the reaction on the Frenchic forum, which saw her attract more than 6,200 likes and 645 comments

Dearbhaile admitted she

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Preserves: How to make your abundant home garden produce last into the winter months | Home and Garden

Claire Xidis is harvesting her peppers. Most of the other summer stuff — tomatoes, okra, asparagus — already has been plucked from her five raised gardening beds.

“Peppers slow down in the extreme heat of August and then go strong and make hot peppers until the first freeze,” she said.

Xidis, who lives in the Windermere neighborhood of West Ashley, grows all kinds of peppers, and to stretch out their savory-sweet-spicy goodness over time, she makes sauces, she said.

She orders the little glass bottles in bulk online so she can fill them by the dozens and share with friends.

Now that’s a good way to make the bounty of her garden last.



Sauces

Home gardener Claire Xidis transforms her abundant peppers into savory sauces.




Success can be daunting to a home gardener. If the summer crop is significant, and the family’s appetite limited, the gardener is left only with a couple of choices: eat tomatoes and zucchini everyday till your eyes cross under the curse of the goddess Demeter, or give a lot of the produce away.

Well, there’s a third choice for those adept with abundant use of sugar and salt, and for those with a large freezer. Many of your late-summer fruits and vegetables can be preserved, their lifespans of edibility extended artificially thanks to the special talents of those big-brained primates we call humans.

Take tomatoes, to start.

“Tomatoes are easy,” says Charleston’s grande dame de la cuisine Nathalie Dupree, who should know. “You can take all of your whole tomatoes and freeze them individually, then put all of them into a plastic bag in the freezer. Then when you have time, do your tomato sauces.”



Tomatoes

Tomatoes from Claire Xidis’ garden. Eat them fresh, sauce them or follow Nathalie Dupree’s advice and freeze them. Claire Xidis/Provided




Don’t freeze them all together, piled one on top of the other, because they’ll stick. Just arrange them on a level of the freezer, wait till they’re hard as a rock, then combine them in a bag for the long haul.

Collards? Cook them then freeze them, Dupree says.

Cauliflower? Separate the florets then freeze them.

Okra? Freeze them, but only if you plan to add them to a gumbo later (see below).

Field peas? Freeze them.

Root vegetables? Stick them in the fridge.

Bananas? Freeze them, if you want to use the fruit for smoothies later.

Avocados already pretty ripe? Smash them, put the puree in a sealed plastic bag and stick the bag in the fridge. Maybe squeeze a little lemon juice in there to help keep it fresh.



Nathalie Dupree

Nathalie Dupree is a former restaurant chef, a distinguished cookbook author and a contributor to The Post and Courier’s Food section. Provided




Now you know why Dupree has 14 large food cooling units in her house. OK, I’m exaggerating. She doesn’t have 14 large food cooling units in her house. But she does have a tiny refrigerator in her living room where she stores her

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