Gas stove exception for celebrity chef José Andrés rankles local restaurant owners: ‘California crazy’

Local restaurant owners in Palo Alto, California are speaking out after the liberal city granted celebrity chef José Andrés an exception to a gas stove ban at his restaurant.

“I wish that they would give us a break. I haven’t seen one yet. We’re a busy restaurant. We pay our taxes. I don’t know what the end result of this is,” Rudford’s Restaurant owner Jeff Kacha said on “Fox & Friends First” Friday. 

“It’s California crazy.”

Andrés pushed back on the California gas stove ban for a new restaurant Zaytinya that was scheduled to open in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Simon Property Group (SPG) originally applied to build the restaurant in 2019, receiving local approvals before the city council revised the building codes which required all new buildings to be electric. 

The developer installed a gas line into the building before city officials instructed that the building would have to be updated to the new code. 

“Without a gas connection and appliances, Zaytinya would be forced to alter its signature five-star menu, which it is unwilling to do. Zaytinya cannot compromise the caliber of its cuisine and reputation,” Andrés’ attorney said in a statement. 

Jeff and his Rudford’s co-owner, Nick Kacha, affirmed concerns outlined by Andrés, saying there are “a lot of thing [that] come into play” with the change from gas to electric stoves. They said the change is worrying many restaurant owners.

It changes the whole dynamic of the restaurant, how we cook, how fast we’re able to cook things, the efficiency of the restaurant. There are a lot of things that come into play,” he said, adding that costs could go up significantly for restaurants.

“Right now it’s $0.48 a term. So what happens when it goes up to $0.80 and we’re trying to cook with electricity that’s a constant power on and instead of gas that you can turn on and off.”

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