Celebrity chef José Andrés is to be allowed to use gas stoves in his new restaurant despite California‘s ban, because he would otherwise have to remake its menu.
The change to the California Building Code, enforced from January, has meant that all new buildings are required to be all electric in order to cut the state’s nitrogen oxide emissions.
Lawyers for the property group that will house the restaurant threatened legal action if Andrés’ project Zaytina could not have a gas cooker.
Anna Shimko, an attorney for The Simon Property Group wrote in a letter threatening a lawsuit that Zaytinya relies on ‘traditional cooking methods that require gas appliances to achieve its signature, complex flavors.’
‘Without a gas connection and appliances, Zaytinya would be forced to alter its signature five-star menu, which it is unwilling to do’ she wrote to the city in April.
Celebrity chef José Andrés will be allowed to use gas stoves in his new restaurant
Lawyers for the property group that will house the restaurant threatened legal action if José Andrés’ project Zaytina could not have a gas cooker
Arguing for the exemption she claimed that the Stanford Shopping Center, where Zaytinya will be located, applied for the project in 2019 and received approvals from the city’s Architectural Review Board including for a gas line, which was installed in 2021.
‘SPG is confident that the enforcement of the new Reach Code in this context is legally defective and unconstitutional, and SPG is thus prepared to take all actions necessary to enforce its legal rights to employ gas facilities within Building EE.’
‘The restaurant would likely move its location out of the city if it were forced to compromise the caliber of its cuisine and reputation’ the attorney said.
‘This would be an unfortunate loss for the residents of Palo Alto, as well as a compensable loss for which SPG would be forced to seek redress.’
Faced with the legal dispute Palo Alto administrators capitulated and have granted the restaurant permission to use natural gas.
The building is ‘in a unique situation, where parts of the project were built or under construction when the City’s all-electric new construction rule went into effect’ therefore ‘the city and the mall have agreed that this one project should be able to proceed with gas service consistent with the long-established project plans,’ city staff said in a statement on May 16.
It comes after the US has recently considered banning all gas stoves over health and safety concerns.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced earlier this month that it plans to take action to address the pollution emitted by gas stoves, which have been linked to higher cases of asthma.
Andrés threatened to remove his restaurant from the city if he could not keep a gas stove
Zaytinya relies on ‘traditional cooking methods that require gas appliances to achieve its signature, complex flavors’
In a statement to Bloomberg News, Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner called gas stoves a ‘hidden hazard.’
California is set to phase out new natural gas furnaces and heaters by 2030 after a proposal from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was passed, making it the first US state to take such action.
The proposal, included in the 2022 State Implementation Plan (SIP) Strategy, is to combat nitrogen oxide pollution in the state – homes and buildings generate four times more ozone than all of California’s gas power plants combined.
The plan, however, will cost about $96.2 billion to enforce and new homeowners will have to pay for expensive electrical options moving forward.
The report comes just a month after California announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars.
CARB Chair Liane Randolph said in a statement: ‘While this strategy will clean the air for all Californians, it will also lead to reduced emissions in the many low-income and disadvantaged communities that experience greater levels of persistent air pollution.
‘But to truly meet the ozone standard, California needs more federal action to clean up harmful diesel pollution from primarily federally controlled sources, from locomotives and ocean-going vessels to aircraft, which are all concentrated in communities that continue to bear the brunt of poor air quality.
‘We simply cannot provide clean air to Californians without the federal government doing its part.’
The new ban is part of California Govern Gavin Newson’s climate push and aims to abide by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations to limit ozone in the atmosphere to 70 parts per billion – 21 million people living in the state exceed this standard.