California officials will allow celebrity chef José Andrés to skirt gas stove ban at his new restaurant after being threatened with lawsuits because it would ‘alter the caliber of food’ and force him to change his menus
- The celebrity chef won his battle after threatening legal action
- Palo Alto backed down after threat of moving restaurant out of the city
Celebrity chef José Andrés is to be allowed to use gas stoves in his new restaurant despite California 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.
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 Republican lawmakers claimed that green lobbyists were attempting to push the Biden administration into banning gas stoves.