Chefs join nationwide pushback against gas stove bans

Some restaurateurs argue the flames from natural gas stoves help create a better presentation for meals.

Published: May 12, 2023 11:27pm

Professional chefs are turning up the flames on the gas stove controversy that started with a slow burn earlier this year. 

World-renowned chef José Andrés is trying to open his first Bay Area eatery but appears ready to quit the effort if officials in the city of Palo Alto don't allow the use of natural gas at the proposed site.

Andrés's position was revealed in an April 28 letter to the city from the attorney for the shopping center that has a deal to bring in the chef's new Zaytinya restaurant. 

"Some of its more conventional cooking equipment can be made electric, but other unique pieces of gas-fired equipment critical for Zaytinya's success do not have electrically powered equivalents," the letter reads. "Without a gas connection and appliances, Zaytinya would be forced to alter its signature five-star reputation and ... will likely choose not to locate within the city."

The controversy started in January after the chairman of the Federal Consumer Safety Products Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., said gas stoves posed a "hidden hazard" and suggested the agency could ban them.

Among the concerns is an increased risk of childhood asthma in households with gas stoves, which produce small amounts of methane, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and small particulate matter.

However some studies that show a connection have been dismissed by others that challenge the data and methodology.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, New York became the first U.S. state in to approve a ban on gas stoves for new buildings, citing climate change and public health concerns.

Not even a week went by before 11 Democrat attorneys general across the country united to demand similar crackdowns at the federal level

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. households have gas stoves, according to Consumer Reports, as do 76% of restaurants, the National Restaurant Association notes.

Last month, California's restaurant owners scored a big legal win when a federal appeals court overturned the city of Berkeley's first-in-the-nation ban on natural gas lines in new buildings.

The unanimous ruling sided with restaurant owners' argument the city's ordinance – passed in 2019 as part of its climate agenda – conflicts with federal laws on energy efficiency.

Chef Nick Landry, executive vice president of the Research Chefs Association told Just the News this week that gas stoves are better than their electric counterparts because they cook food much better.

"You can heat up things a lot hotter, a lot quicker," he said. 

On the subject of stoves and the tastiness and presentation of meals, he said, it's harder to get a "nice sear" on any kind of meat when using an electric option.

Other chefs, such as Andrew Gruel, have taken a satirical route in opposing gas stove restrictions, posting a video on Twitter of him taped to his gas stove "forever."

Tweet URL

In response to concerns the Biden administration wants to ban all natural gas stoves, Gruel said: "I’ve taped myself to this stove and I will stay taped to this stove" until such a proposal is "eliminated" from conversation.

Social media supporters responded with such less-government and anti-Biden administration responses as "don't tread on me" and "let's go Brandon."

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm seemed to cross the cultural divide Thursday when testifying on Capitol Hill about the matter, saying, "Nobody’s taking my gas stove. Nobody will take your gas stove."

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