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-   -   Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings, the first U.S. city to do so (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240269)

Sun Belt Sep 9, 2019 9:54 PM

Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings, the first U.S. city to do so
 
Berkeley bans natural gas in new buildings, the first U.S. city to do so
By ALI TADAYON

Quote:

BERKELEY — Keeping its reputation of leading the country in environmental policies, Berkeley is banning natural gas in new buildings starting next year, becoming the first city in the country to do so.

The move unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday comes as part of Berkeley’s move to become greener and do its part to fight climate change. The city had adopted a lofty plan in 2009 to cut down its greenhouse gas emissions to 33 percent of what they were in 2000 by 2020, but the city has only managed to reduce emissions by 15 percent, said Councilwoman Kate Harrison, who proposed the ordinance.

Natural gas appliances account for 27 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, Harrison said.
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/07...new-buildings/

Now that is WOKE, gang.

Chef Sep 9, 2019 10:06 PM

This is really going to screw up the restaurant industry in Berkeley. Restaurants will be forced to cook with electric ranges, which are extremely impractical in commercial settings, or induction, which is very expensive.

sopas ej Sep 9, 2019 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8682302)
This is really going to screw up the restaurant industry in Berkeley. Restaurants will be forced to cook with electric ranges, which are extremely impractical in commercial settings, or induction, which is very expensive.

Under Berkeley's law, building owners would still be able to apply for exemptions: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/05/74505...t-climate-push

Obviously for homeowners who don't care about having a gas stove, this will be great. Electric water heaters are becoming more and more popular, so it's possible that more people will start making their homes all electric.

Sun Belt Sep 9, 2019 10:17 PM

Electricity is generated from gas fired power plants in much of the world. Europe knows this, that's why they've struck a deal with RUSSIA!!!

You can turn on your all electric range and the source is from a gas power plant in some far way dirty county/state. Forget about all the transmission lines that must be built to serve consumers...

Stay Woke, my friends.

cabasse Sep 9, 2019 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8682312)
Electricity is generated from gas fired power plants in much of the world. Europe knows this, that's why they've struck a deal with RUSSIA!!!

You can turn on your all electric range and the source is from a gas power plant in some far way dirty county/state. Forget about all the transmission lines that must be built to serve consumers...

Stay Woke, my friends.


eh, even here in bf georgia, we get a 3rd of our power from nuclear, 10% from renewables, and building two additional reactors which will serve atlanta... gotta start taking steps somewhere to get away from fossil fuels, it won't all happen at once.

floor23 Sep 9, 2019 10:58 PM

not that anyone ever visited Berkeley for its food, but you would have to be a moron to believe that electric induction cooktops/ranges could replace gas cooktops/ranges and have zero effect on food quality. Not to mention that they're also less energy efficient. You wouldn't notice the difference with most crappy american food, but most Asian cuisines need to be cooked with gas (especially curries, make one on an induction vs gas and you will see the difference).

Something tells me restaurants in Berkeley will switch to using portable gas stoves to bypass this poorly thought out ordinance. Good days ahead for vendors selling butane in Berkeley.

The Chemist Sep 9, 2019 11:25 PM

This seems incredibly ill thought out. Of all the fossil fuels to go after, they go after the one that's by far the cleanest burning of all? It's stupidity like this that gives so many people a low view of environmentalists.

Sun Belt Sep 9, 2019 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cabasse (Post 8682362)
eh, even here in bf georgia, we get a 3rd of our power from nuclear, 10% from renewables, and building two additional reactors which will serve atlanta... gotta start taking steps somewhere to get away from fossil fuels, it won't all happen at once.

You're in favor of nuclear instead of gas fired plants? Europe is going the opposite direction [along with their refusal to use coal] -- and that's why we face the geopolitical conundrum at present. Who will supply the energy to an energy dead continent that is Europe?

bnk Sep 9, 2019 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Chemist (Post 8682395)
This seems incredibly ill thought out. Of all the fossil fuels to go after, they go after the one that's by far the cleanest burning of all? It's stupidity like this that gives so many people a low view of environmentalists.

I could not agree more.

accord1999 Sep 10, 2019 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8682309)
Obviously for homeowners who don't care about having a gas stove, this will be great. Electric water heaters are becoming more and more popular, so it's possible that more people will start making their homes all electric.

And run headfirst into California's high electricity rates. And prayers for them if they have a time-of-use plan...

craigs Sep 10, 2019 12:34 AM

I knew when I clicked on this thread that it would focus on mockery and right-wing culture war, but I also knew there are good reasons for Berkeley and other cities to do this.

For example, the article notes the city was only able to achieve a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade, well below its targeted 33 percent reduction, and natural gas appliances currently make up 27 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the city's natural gas appliances over time by attrition will help the city reach its targets.

The article also notes two other good reasons to do this. First, a study showed 12 percent of childhood asthma was attributed to gas stoves used for cooking, and second, and more importantly, this move makes sense in earthquake country.

According to the article, a 2017 U.S. Geological Survey that found that a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the Hayward fault line (which runs under Berkeley) with the epicenter in Oakland (borders Berkeley) could result in 450 large fires, and the destruction of thousands of homes, and that ruptured gas lines would be a “key fire risk factor.”

The utility that serves Berkeley, Pacific Gas & Electric, supports Berkeley and other cities switching from natural gas appliances: their spokesman told the newspaper "the company is in favor of all-electric construction" and “We welcome the opportunity to avoid investments in new gas assets that might later prove underutilized as the local governments and the state work together to realize our longterm decarbonization objectives."

Unsuprisingly, some 50 other California cities are considering making the same change. Nobody seems to oppose this, except right-wing forum culture warriors seeking to embrace fossil fuels, because MAGA.

cabasse Sep 10, 2019 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8682422)
You're in favor of nuclear instead of gas fired plants? Europe is going the opposite direction [along with their refusal to use coal] -- and that's why we face the geopolitical conundrum at present. Who will supply the energy to an energy dead continent that is Europe?


nuclear contributes far less to co2 emissions than natural gas. sure it's clean burning, (but not mined in a clean way!) and i think it makes sense for restaurants to be able to apply for exemptions, but it makes sense to cut it out wherever possible.

lio45 Sep 10, 2019 1:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8682302)
This is really going to screw up the restaurant industry in Berkeley. Restaurants will be forced to cook with electric ranges, which are extremely impractical in commercial settings, or induction, which is very expensive.

I know you're a chef, but I had for several years one of the highest-end restaurants in this city in one of my buildings and the chef there was cooking with electric ranges. And it worked perfectly well, AFAIK. Your thoughts on this, out of curiosity?

lrt's friend Sep 10, 2019 1:15 AM

Some electricity is still generated from coal.

Here, with a cold climate, switching to 'all electricity' would be a financial disaster. Natural gas is much cheaper than heating with electricity.

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 2:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floor23 (Post 8682364)
n but you would have to be a moron to believe that electric induction cooktops/ranges could replace gas cooktops/ranges and have zero effect on food quality. Not to mention that they're also less energy efficient.

Electric is not less energy efficient. Electric heat is nearly 100% efficient. It's just more expensive.

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 2:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Chemist (Post 8682395)
This seems incredibly ill thought out. Of all the fossil fuels to go after, they go after the one that's by far the cleanest burning of all? It's stupidity like this that gives so many people a low view of environmentalists.

This is part of the strategy of "electrification".

It prioritizes efficiency... and puts the ball in motion towards the sole use of renewables to power our buildings sector.

This is far beyond "environmentalists". This is high-level market transformation being developed by scientists, engineers, and business and government leaders.

kingkirbythe.... Sep 10, 2019 2:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 8682448)
I knew when I clicked on this thread that it would focus on mockery and right-wing culture war, but I also knew there are good reasons for Berkeley and other cities to do this.

For example, the article notes the city was only able to achieve a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade, well below its targeted 33 percent reduction, and natural gas appliances currently make up 27 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the city's natural gas appliances over time by attrition will help the city reach its targets.

The article also notes two other good reasons to do this. First, a study showed 12 percent of childhood asthma was attributed to gas stoves used for cooking, and second, and more importantly, this move makes sense in earthquake country.

According to the article, a 2017 U.S. Geological Survey that found that a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the Hayward fault line (which runs under Berkeley) with the epicenter in Oakland (borders Berkeley) could result in 450 large fires, and the destruction of thousands of homes, and that ruptured gas lines would be a “key fire risk factor.”

The utility that serves Berkeley, Pacific Gas & Electric, supports Berkeley and other cities switching from natural gas appliances: their spokesman told the newspaper "the company is in favor of all-electric construction" and “We welcome the opportunity to avoid investments in new gas assets that might later prove underutilized as the local governments and the state work together to realize our longterm decarbonization objectives."

Unsuprisingly, some 50 other California cities are considering making the same change. Nobody seems to oppose this, except right-wing forum culture warriors seeking to embrace fossil fuels, because MAGA.

Damn right!

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 2:50 AM

And remember, this applies to NEW construction.

More and more utility efficient programs/endeavors are seeding all-electric construction.

accord1999 Sep 10, 2019 3:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 8682478)
Some electricity is still generated from coal.

Especially when natural gas powered appliances are normally used. Won't be surprised if in a decade, Berkeley is forced to stop people from using electric stoves between 6PM-9PM because there isn't enough electricity generation to meet peak demand in California.

Chef Sep 10, 2019 4:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 8682448)

Unsuprisingly, some 50 other California cities are considering making the same change. Nobody seems to oppose this, except right-wing forum culture warriors seeking to embrace fossil fuels, because MAGA.

I am not a right wing forum cultural warrior, I am a socialist, but I am also a pragmatist who has worked in and run restaurant kitchens for three decades. Perhaps you shouldn't paint all those who disagree with you with the same ad hominem MAGA brush. Cooking on conventional electric stoves is awful and induction burners are an expensive toy for the bourgeoisie. After we have stopped using gas for everything else, we will still probably be using it for cooking.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lio45 (Post 8682475)
I know you're a chef, but I had for several years one of the highest-end restaurants in this city in one of my buildings and the chef there was cooking with electric ranges. And it worked perfectly well, AFAIK. Your thoughts on this, out of curiosity?

The problem is the nature of the heat. When you turn a gas burner up or down you get an immediate change in the temperature of the burner. With a standard electric range the heating element gradually heats up and cools down. This means it is easier to have precise control of the temperature of your pans with gas. When you are working a saute station having your pans at the temperature you want them is important in cooking things correctly. I've worked on electric ranges before. The challenge is that you have to anticipate the speed at which they heat up or cool down, it is much more difficult and throws off the timing of cooking. Also they will still cook your pan even after you have turned them off. This means that you have to remove your pan from the range and find a place to put it while you are doing other things. That little bit of time is a big deal when you are cooking 8 or 12 pans at once. It is easier to be able to turn off the gas and leave it there. Cooking on an electric range in a restaurant is possible but it is about twice as difficult as working a gas range and requires completely relearning how to cook saute.

Cooking saute well, especially in a busy upscale restaurant, requires a lot more brain power than non-restaurant people realize. Most great fine dining saute cooks are in about the 80th percentile of intelligence or higher. One of the challenges of a head chef is to find people who are smart enough to get an advanced degree but are instead willing to work for $16 an hour in a hot, cramped, unpleasant space without breaks and live completely detached from normal life (which is why cooks tend to be immigrants or weirdos, that is where you find smart people without degrees). By changing from gas to electric and making saute harder, you now may need a saute cook in the 90th percentile of IQ rather than the 80th. That is going to make staffing the kitchen harder.

dimondpark Sep 10, 2019 4:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floor23 (Post 8682364)
not that anyone ever visited Berkeley for its food

Oh God the ENTIRE CULINARY WORLD has visited Berkeley for it's food as California cuisine was born there.

SFBruin Sep 10, 2019 5:04 AM

This seems odd.

mSeattle Sep 10, 2019 7:19 AM

I don't see how there would be a problem with this if California has major wind, geothermal, and solar energy infrastructure.

accord1999 Sep 10, 2019 8:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mSeattle (Post 8682677)
I don't see how there would be a problem with this if California has major wind, geothermal, and solar energy infrastructure.

Wind doesn't always blow, geothermal is only a fraction of California's electricity generation, and solar dies just as your oven and range are most likely to be used (among other things) hence the infamous "duck curve" which will be further exacerbated by the mandate on rooftop solar and more challenging when Diablo Canyon is retired.

https://i.imgur.com/opYWaL7.png

craigs Sep 10, 2019 8:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mSeattle (Post 8682677)
I don't see how there would be a problem with this if California has major wind, geothermal, and solar energy infrastructure.

PG&E's October 2018 release shows electric power generation is 33% renewable (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and waste, small hydro), 27% nuclear, 20% natural gas, 18% large hydro, and 2% market purchases. They make a point of putting coal into the chart, and it's 0%.

floor23 Sep 10, 2019 9:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 8682622)
Oh God the ENTIRE CULINARY WORLD has visited Berkeley for it's food as California cuisine was born there.

only someone from California would think that Berkeley is significant in the culinary world. Cali has great restaurants throughout the state, but Berkeley isn't anything special.

And if Berkeley was anything important in the culinary world then this wouldn't even be considered. Any place that would consider itself to have "world-class" culinary scene would never consider this. Try passing a law like this in Asia, France, or Southern Europe and heads would roll.

Its very obvious from reading this thread who cooks professionally or at home in a serious manner and who doesn't. Anybody that cooks knows that gas is 100 times better than induction. Turning on a gas stove gets you an instant, constant flame that you can adjust visually.The flames produced by a natural gas stove also cook food more quickly and evenly, because the flames spread themselves along the bottom and sides of the pan. There are a lot of dishes out there that can't be cooked without gas stove. Try making a curry or stir fry on an induction stove (you can't). Watch any food network show and you will never see any chef who takes himself seriously caught dead with an induction stove top.

My guess is restaurants will just use portable butane cookers that are common in Asia. I have a few commercial grade ones at 15,000 BTU and the work great (no gas line in my building).

montréaliste Sep 10, 2019 12:20 PM

Totally agree with floor and chef on this topic. You don't need to be a pro to realize how limiting electric cookers are, esp. in Asian cooking. Try frying rice without proper heat going up the sides of a wok. Good luck w that.

Inkdaub Sep 10, 2019 12:32 PM

Sounds like a good idea to me. I will just have to trust the restaurants of the world to figure it out. People often find changes to be awkward but this(The move away from fossil fuels) is one that is absolutely necessary. So we will have to adapt. This is likely one of the easier changes we will be faced with in the coming years.

dave8721 Sep 10, 2019 1:23 PM

We get along fine with no natural gas in any buildings in South Florida.

chris08876 Sep 10, 2019 4:26 PM

I'm proposing an experiment:

1) Observation: Folks in Berkeley seem to be triggered easily, at anything.

2) Hypothesis: The degree of triggering could result in death or severe injury in which the degree of triggered nature and subsequent death/injury probability for "X" subject is exponential depending on how large the trigger factor is.

I wonder what would happen if the following scenario occurred at Berkeley;

Parameters of the experiment:

Experimental Group: A pick up truck (F350 Ford), with black diesel exhaust, no muffler, no catalytic converters, rolling coal every 2 minutes... with pro MAGA bumper stickers, assault life stickers on the back, "the south will rise again" slogans on the truck, the truck is raised, playing outlaw country, fume pipe near the cab, the old banned Arkansas flag displayed on small flag poles extending from the sides of the cab on both ends, and a bumper sticker that states "coal is the future", pro-life, pro-marriage, "god will punish those that go against scripture" slogans, and finally... some hay in the cab that hasn't been tied correctly, and is thus, going all over the road.


Now with the truck, same truck, but replicated in the following cities: Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and NYC.


What I'm curious to learn from this experiment are the indicators of "time" , magnitude of injury, trigger factor, how many folks get triggered, and to what means of out-lashing do they resort too; verbal, violence, twitter/S.Media volume influx, and I want to measure in units of m³ the volume of tears, and how many barrels (assuming 50 gallons) the tears could fit from conducting the experiment over the span of 5 hours.

Disclaimer: Some drivers understand that this might be a one-way mission.


I think this experiment could further help us understand anthropological, and the human psychology even further in 2019.

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 4:39 PM

Someone has to take the lead in pushing technological innovation.

If it happens to be a poster-child bastion of liberal hippy thought like Berkeley (which also happens to be a major center of technological innovation), so be it.

homebucket Sep 10, 2019 4:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8682309)
Under Berkeley's law, building owners would still be able to apply for exemptions: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/05/74505...t-climate-push

This. It's starting with homes and small apartments. After energy efficiency analyses, it may include commercial spaces, but restaurant owners will be able to apply for exemptions.

But of course, everyone here overlooks this and just has to inject their personal political views into this discussion.

chris08876 Sep 10, 2019 4:41 PM

^^^^

I just wonder what the cost will be to both residents and businesses to make the transition.

I apologize for the troll post, I know... I just had to get it off my mind... sometimes a good idea comes to mind due to creativity.

I mean, possibly rolling it out over "X" years would of been appropriate.

California has always pushed the frontier of change, but I feel at the expense (cost) to the residents or general business environment.

Transition is key I feel. Like imagine if you have a business that relies on natural gas, and now... you have all of this expense at once. Even with exceptions, all it does is create bureaucracy, more paperwork, and makes it even harder to do business.

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 4:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris08876 (Post 8682911)
^^^^

I just wonder what the cost will be to both residents and businesses to make the transition.

I apologize for the troll post, I know... I just had to get it off my mind... sometimes a good idea comes to mind due to creativity.

I mean, possibly rolling it out over "X" years would of been appropriate.

California has always pushed the frontier of change, but I feel at the expense (cost) to the residents or general business environment.

Transition is key I feel. Like imagine if you have a business that relies on natural gas, and now... you have all of this expense at once. Even with exceptions, all it does is create bureaucracy, more paperwork, and makes it even harder to do business.

It's not a transition. It's for NEW construction.

There will be no transition. It doesn't need to be "rolled out". It is inherently being rolled out by focusing on new construction. Goddamn, fucking read for 2 minutes.

chris08876 Sep 10, 2019 4:48 PM

I did read it. And I think the time frame for new construction is too short of a notice. In a state that has a housing crisis, this is just further adding to the giant stack of bs that developers have to go through.

pj3000 Sep 10, 2019 4:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris08876 (Post 8682931)
I did read it. And I think the time frame for new construction is too short of a notice. In a state that has a housing crisis, this is just further adding to the giant stack of bs that developers have to go through.

It's a lot easier and cheaper to build all-electric. This is not some added burden on "developers" as you're trying to make it out to be.

sopas ej Sep 10, 2019 5:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floor23 (Post 8682364)

not that anyone ever visited Berkeley for its food.

???

I guess you've never heard of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters, and the birth of California cuisine? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chez_Panisse

Berkeley has some good ethnic restaurants too. My partner and I have even made it a point a few times when we visit San Francisco to go into Berkeley and eat at a very good Himalayan/Nepalese restaurant.

homebucket Sep 10, 2019 5:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8682958)
???

I guess you've never heard of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters, and the birth of California cuisine? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chez_Panisse

Berkeley has some good ethnic restaurants too. My partner and I have even made it a point a few times when we visit San Francisco to go into Berkeley and eat at very good Himalayan/Nepalese restaurant.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was talking about Berkeley in the context of bigger CA cities like SF and LA. But yeah, Berkeley has an excellent food scene for a city of its size, and a storied history and influence, as you alluded to.

sopas ej Sep 10, 2019 5:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8682619)
The problem is the nature of the heat. When you turn a gas burner up or down you get an immediate change in the temperature of the burner. With a standard electric range the heating element gradually heats up and cools down. This means it is easier to have precise control of the temperature of your pans with gas. When you are working a saute station having your pans at the temperature you want them is important in cooking things correctly. I've worked on electric ranges before. The challenge is that you have to anticipate the speed at which they heat up or cool down, it is much more difficult and throws off the timing of cooking. Also they will still cook your pan even after you have turned them off. This means that you have to remove your pan from the range and find a place to put it while you are doing other things. That little bit of time is a big deal when you are cooking 8 or 12 pans at once. It is easier to be able to turn off the gas and leave it there. Cooking on an electric range in a restaurant is possible but it is about twice as difficult as working a gas range and requires completely relearning how to cook saute.

Out of curiosity, how did people do this in centuries past, when people cooked over open fires or used wood-burning stoves?

dimondpark Sep 10, 2019 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floor23 (Post 8682703)
only someone from California would think that Berkeley is significant in the culinary world.

Only people not really familiar with the culinary world and the evolution of fine dining in the US would say such nonsense. Please stop talking.

Chef Sep 10, 2019 5:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8682989)
Out of curiosity, how did people do this in centuries past, when people cooked over open fires or used wood-burning stoves?

The wood burning stove was invented in the late 18th century, prior to that almost all cooking in the west was braises and stews done in cauldrons over open fires, food cooked in primitive ovens or grilled food.

In China they had a three sided brick thing that focused the heat of the open fire and they would put cooking implements on top.

sopas ej Sep 10, 2019 5:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8683033)
The wood burning stove was invented in the late 18th century, prior to that almost all cooking in the west was braises and stews done in cauldrons over open fires, food cooked in primitive ovens or grilled food.

In China they had a three sided brick thing that focused the heat of the open fire and they would put cooking implements on top.

So back then, temperature control and sautéing weren't a thing, I guess... only a recent thing?

Chef Sep 10, 2019 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dimondpark (Post 8683022)
Only people not really familiar with the culinary world and the evolution of fine dining in the US would say such nonsense. Please stop talking.

Modern American restaurant cooking began with Chez Panisse in Berkeley. A restaurant scene is an ephemeral thing though. It is a product of a web of relationships, ideas and skills that move from one restaurant to another as people move. Generational turnover means that a cities' restaurant ecosystem is born anew every 20 to 30 years. As a result, past performance is not an indicator of current quality. I don't know much about Berkeley's current restaurant scene but I do know that people outside of California don't talk about it like they did in the '80s or '90s.

jg6544 Sep 10, 2019 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8683055)
Modern American restaurant cooking began with Chez Panisse in Berkeley. A restaurant scene is an ephemeral thing though. It is a product of a web of relationships, ideas and skills that move from one restaurant to another as people move. Generational turnover means that a cities' restaurant ecosystem is born anew every 20 to 30 years. As a result, past performance is not an indicator of current quality. I don't know much about Berkeley's current restaurant scene but I do know that people outside of California don't talk about it like they did in the '80s or '90s.

Berkeley remains one of the best food towns in the country. I think the only reasons it doesn't get talked about as much is that Chez Panisse has been cloned all over the country and there are so many excellent restaurants all over northern CA, Berkeley doesn't stand out the way it once did. Still a great place to find a meal, though.

jg6544 Sep 10, 2019 5:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floor23 (Post 8682703)
only someone from California would think that Berkeley is significant in the culinary world. Cali has great restaurants throughout the state, but Berkeley isn't anything special.

And if Berkeley was anything important in the culinary world then this wouldn't even be considered. Any place that would consider itself to have "world-class" culinary scene would never consider this. Try passing a law like this in Asia, France, or Southern Europe and heads would roll.

Its very obvious from reading this thread who cooks professionally or at home in a serious manner and who doesn't. Anybody that cooks knows that gas is 100 times better than induction. Turning on a gas stove gets you an instant, constant flame that you can adjust visually.The flames produced by a natural gas stove also cook food more quickly and evenly, because the flames spread themselves along the bottom and sides of the pan. There are a lot of dishes out there that can't be cooked without gas stove. Try making a curry or stir fry on an induction stove (you can't). Watch any food network show and you will never see any chef who takes himself seriously caught dead with an induction stove top.

My guess is restaurants will just use portable butane cookers that are common in Asia. I have a few commercial grade ones at 15,000 BTU and the work great (no gas line in my building).

Agree with you about gas for cooking. Could not disagree more about Berkeley.

Chef Sep 10, 2019 5:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8683043)
So back then, temperature control and sautéing weren't a thing, I guess... only a recent thing?

Saute cooking in a restaurant setting didn't exist until the second half of the 19th century when gas ranges started to be introduced. The techniques were a product of technological change. Before the invention of the range there were no flat bottomed saute pans or skillets.

The modern restaurant is really the product of the inventions of the gas range and the restaurant ventilation hood (which prevented cooks from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning). Both were invented in the early 19th century and became more common over time. Escoffier's brigade system for organizing the work, which came about in the late 19 century was the third piece. The kitchen of an 18th century inn would be completely different than what a modern chef is used to.

Chef Sep 10, 2019 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 8683069)
Berkeley remains one of the best food towns in the country. I think the only reasons it doesn't get talked about as much is that Chez Panisse has been cloned all over the country and there are so many excellent restaurants all over northern CA, Berkeley doesn't stand out the way it once did. Still a great place to find a meal, though.

Part of it is there are now great restaurants all over America. The other piece is that back then a lot of the US's up and coming kitchen talent wanted to cook in the Bay Area to learn. Now you can learn just as well in about two dozen cities and the Bay Area is dauntingly expensive for young cooks so the pipeline that was delivering much of America's young cooking talent to northern California has shut down. Back when people were making culinary pilgrimages to the Bay Area (or New York) the food in most of the rest of the country was terrible. What we have had is a national leveling out of quality.

sopas ej Sep 10, 2019 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8683073)
Saute cooking in a restaurant setting didn't exist until the second half of the 19th century when gas ranges started to be introduced. The techniques were a product of technological change. Before the invention of the range there were no flat bottomed saute pans or skillets.

The modern restaurant is really the product of the inventions of the gas range and the restaurant ventilation hood (which prevented cooks from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning). Both were invented in the early 19th century and became more common over time. Escoffier's brigade system for organizing the work, which came about in the late 19 century was the third piece. The kitchen of an 18th century inn would be completely different than what a modern chef is used to.

Thanks for answering my questions. It makes sense that cooking techniques would change over time with technology. Often in my mind, what I would think as centuries-old or traditional dishes really probably only date from the last 200 years or so. It makes sense that stews and braises, and grilling (as well as pickling, salting, smoking, fermenting, and drying) would be much older ways of preparing and cooking food.

So the desire for temperature control really is only a fairly recent thing.

Chef Sep 10, 2019 6:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8683123)

So the desire for temperature control really is only a fairly recent thing.

It has always existed, we just didn't have the ability to do it well. Think about baking bread. We used to do that in wood fired ovens with no thermostat. A modern baker couldn't do that without years of practice.

dimondpark Sep 10, 2019 6:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chef (Post 8683055)
Modern American restaurant cooking began with Chez Panisse in Berkeley. A restaurant scene is an ephemeral thing though. It is a product of a web of relationships, ideas and skills that move from one restaurant to another as people move. Generational turnover means that a cities' restaurant ecosystem is born anew every 20 to 30 years. As a result, past performance is not an indicator of current quality. I don't know much about Berkeley's current restaurant scene but I do know that people outside of California don't talk about it like they did in the '80s or '90s.

Yeah the food is still great but the Berkeley buzz ended in the 1990s, while Oakland has stolen a lot of the foodie thunder from Berkeley, capitulated by Commis, an incredible, 2-Michelin star rated restaurant that validates the tons of activity in Oakland.


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