Local chef invited to swap gas range for an eco-friendly induction cooktop

Award-winning chef Reem Assil, owner of eateries in Fruitvale and San Francisco, tests out a powerful cooktop that eliminates the carbon monoxide of gas ranges.

This story is brought to you by East Bay Community Energy, the East Bay’s not-for-profit public electricity supplier.

Chef Reem Assil, owner of Reem’s California, knows about the impact the restaurant industry can have on both community and the environment, as evidenced by her core values as a chef and restaurateur. So, when East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) was seeking local chefs who were game to try induction cooking technology — and be filmed while using it for the first time — they reached out to Reem.

Alameda County residents interested in induction technology can learn more at www.ebce.org/induction and find rebates towards the purchase of a new induction cooktop. Have a commercial kitchen? Learn more about rebates up to $17,500 to install induction in your kitchen today at www.ebce.org/commercial-kitchens.

Many professional chefs have typically used gas stoves. However, with natural gas contributing to climate change, electric options are requiring a second look — induction cooktops, in particular, which offer a quicker, safer, and more controlled cooking process. And, they can also be powered by EBCE’s clean, renewable energy supply — ensuring both a healthier kitchen environment and a healthier future for our planet. This is particularly relevant in Berkeley and Oakland, as both cities have passed bans on gas hookups in new construction.

Reem’s emphasis on community building, social justice, and sustainability are in line with EBCE’s own values as a local public agency that supplies clean electricity to Oakland, Berkeley and 12 other cities in Alameda County. EBCE hoped that the experience of trying induction would introduce Reem — and the larger restaurant community — to the benefits of a high-powered, magnetic technology that will change the face of cooking. In the video, she cooks up shakshuka —eggs poached in a spicy sauce, shown below — and a flatbread.

Chef Reem Assil’s Shakshuka. Credit:

Reem, who grew up in a Palestinian-Syrian household in the United States, first conceived of her restaurant concept while on a soul-searching trip to Beirut in 2010. Visiting an Arab bakery, she was overwhelmed by the smells of everything from yeasted flatbread to orange blossom syrup. Just as important, however, was the vision of community born from watching patrons laugh and socialize over their baked goods, soaking up the feeling of togetherness brought from neighbors breaking bread together.

Check out Reem’s at www.reemscalifornia.com and on social media @reemscalifornia for the latest. Reem’s Mission in San Francisco has re-opened! You can also enjoy Reem’s with new partnerships at Good Eggs and Berkeley Bowl and spice blends through Burlap & Barrel.

She returned home determined to develop a first-of-its-kind Arab bakery in the Bay Area, bringing the community feeling she had experienced in Lebanon. Working with La Cocina, an incubator primarily for female chefs based in San Francisco, Reem first started serving her signature manoushe at farmers markets. Well received at the markets, she developed a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland and then a new location in the Mission District of San Francisco.

As Reem’s popularity has grown, so too have her accolades — she is a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef (West) in 2018 and 2019, The San Francisco Chronicle’s 2017 Rising Star Chef, San Francisco Magazine’s 2018 Chef of the Year, Thrillist 2018 Chef of the Year, and StarChefs’ Rising Star Chef in 2019. Reem’s California was selected as one of Food & Wine’s Top 10 New Restaurants of the Year in 2018.

Can Reem make her signature shakshuka on a portable induction cooktop? Watch her take the induction cooking challenge in the video above.

This story is brought to you by East Bay Community Energy, the East Bay’s not-for-profit public electricity supplier. EBCE provides clean power at competitive rates and reinvests earnings back into the community.