California Drought Inspires Chef To Clean Dishes Without Water

Mind Body Green

California is looking for any possible way to conserve its water. Governor Jerry Brown had to institute California’s first-ever statewide mandatory water restrictions, as the state has entered its fourth year of severe drought. And sinceNestlé is refusing to stop bottling its water, the state needs all the help it can get.

The new regulations really only affect restaurants directly in one way: They’re only allowed to serve water upon request (so no automatic fills or refills).

But John Cox, of the Post Ranch Inn’s restaurant Sierra Mar in Big Sur, has taken it upon himself to find a way to conserve the scarce resource. He’s been cleaning everything in his restaurant — from the ovens and stoves to the tabletops, dishes, and utensils — with an air compressor. As a result, he is using 80% less waster.

“If all the restaurants in California were to do this, it could save between 5 and 10 billion gallons of water a year,” Cox toldCBS. “And that’s not including schools, office buildings, hotels, prisons — it may just be a small drop in the bucket but at this point, any drops in the bucket help. If we can do our part in the restaurants, hopefully other people will come up with creative solutions as well.”

By spreading his idea on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, he said he’s already convinced five other restaurants to make this change, and numerous other chefs have contacted him about getting on board.

Here’s the (now famous) video of him cleaning off a plate using the air compressor: