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Bob Burton answers a question as he and Marcia Foster cook up their award-winning pasta dish. Photo by Matt Brown

Basketball Coaches Win Big West Cook-Off

Foster and Burton Are Named "Top Chefs"

October 13, 2009

From Sports Information

No longer in the hot seat are Titan basketball coaches Marcia Foster and Bob Burton as they display their winning entry in a Big West Conference Basketball Media day and cooking competition. Photo by Matt Brown

Titan head basketball coaches Marcia Foster and Bob Burton took home three awards for presentation, taste and overall "Top Chef" honors today (Oct. 13) at the Big West Conference basketball media day and cooking competition at the ESPN Zone restaurant in Anaheim.

The two coaches joined radio host Roger Lodge on AM 830’s “The Sports Lodge” to start the morning, sharing their thoughts on Big West basketball and updating fans on the progress of Titan basketball as the season prepares to get underway.

But the heat was turned up higher during the ensuing cooking competition where the men’s and women’s head coaches from the league’s five southern California schools - Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside - teamed up and were tasked to replicate a sundried tomato with pesto pasta dish from ESPN Zone Head Chef Tom Keaveny while also coming up with an original pasta dish of their own to woo the judges.

The Titan coaching duo produced a solid replica of the ESPN dish, but won over the judges with their “Smokin’ Chokin’ Chicken,” which included chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms over rigatoni with a butter sauce.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Foster, who is entering her seventh season on the Titans' sideline, but her first as head coach. “I loved having the opportunity to talk Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball on the radio and the cook-off was awesome.

“Coach Burton and I dominated the competition and it was our ‘Smokin’ Chokin’ Chicken’ that got us all these awards. It was a great time.”

Orange County Register columnist Marcia Smith, who served as one of the three judges on the day, deemed the dish the “one I want to take home and eat up.” Judge David Dekker, executive chef at Angels Stadium, also lauded the Titans’ duo for their “blend of color,” their “understated elegance,” and their ability to ”take a simple dish of ingredients and put it together in a pleasing way.”

“It was just a case of an assistant coach really knowing his role, and that was following the head coach Marcia Foster, who was helping me through this thing,” Burton said. “I think I did a great job adding the garlic.”

The Cal State Northridge cooking duo of coaches Staci Schulz and Bobby Braswell brought home the award for creativity, while the UC Riverside team of coaches John Margaritis and Jim Wooldridge took home the “Kitchen Nightmare” award for the lowest overall score, as well as a selection of cookbooks, an Easy Bake oven and fire extinguishers to assist them in preparing for next year’s event.

Both the Titans men’s and women’s basketball teams officially open practice Saturday, Oct. 17. The women’s team opens its season with an exhibition contest against Biola at 2 p.m. Nov. 7, while the men’s squad opens with an exhibition against Cal State Los Angeles at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 9.

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