Gas-fired stoves are emerging as a burning issue as American cities consider phasing out natural-gas hookups to homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions.

Many restaurant and home chefs prefer cooking on gas-burning ranges, and persuading some to switch to electric stovetops is proving to be a hard sell—a sentiment the natural-gas industry has seized on to rally opposition to new local ordinances.

Several cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, have given ground on the issue by exempting stoves from natural-gas bans, or providing pathways for restaurants to secure waivers in an attempt to minimize blowback.

The pushback on stoves demonstrates one of the challenges of reducing the emissions linked to climate change: Consumers may have to make personal sacrifices by giving up things they use and enjoy in favor of less familiar technologies.

George Chen, executive chef and founder of San Francisco restaurant China Live, said he was concerned about cities restricting a cooking technique that contributes to the texture and flavor of good Chinese cuisine that he said can’t be achieved on an electric stove.

“I have respect for the environment, and I drive an electric car and am happy to pay the extra costs because the technology is good,” Mr. Chen said. “But to say that an electric stove is as good as a gas one is misunderstanding the art of cooking.”

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