Watch: California Celebrity Chef Refuses to Stop Outdoor Dining — ‘I’m Not an Asshole, the Governor Is’

A celebrity chef with restaurants in Southern California is refusing to comply with state orders to shut down outdoor dining because of coronavirus and defended his decision in a video posted on Twitter where he claimed he believes his customers are safe and that Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom is an “asshole.”

“I can go into Walmart … I can go get a pink cockatiel for my Christmas tree but I can’t go dine outdoors at a restaurant,” Andrew Gruel, founder and executive chef of Slapfish Restaurant, said in the video. “I can go to Target. Amazon’s making a ton of money. All big businesses are getting rich.”

And utdoor dining, he said, is safe.

“Therefore screw that,” Gruel, who turned his food truck business into successful brick and mortar restaurants and has also starred on the Food Network, said in the video. “We’re staying open outdoors. It’s that simple.” 

“I’m not an asshole,” Gruel said. “The governor is.”

Gruel also responded to people who have accused him on social media of not taking the pandemic seriously and he explained what he has done to protect customers.

“I’ve got everybody blowing up my replies right now saying that I’m a grandmother killer and that we don’t take this pandemic seriously so I’m just going to address it all right here,” Gruel said.

“So here’s the situation. Do we take the pandemic seriously? Of course we do. Am I saying that we shouldn’t close outdoor dining? Yes I am,” Gruel said.

“At every single juncture along the way here — from the beginning shut down to today we’ve listened to all of the advise from our government officials only to be shut down over and over again and then not compensated for the elements that we put in place in our businesses in order to protect our customers,” Gruel said.

“We shut down indoor dining. No problem,” Gruel said. “I’ve got a warehouse full of plexiglas right now. We went outdoors. Now that’s getting shut down. I just put thousands of dollars into outdoor heaters.”

“My message for all the haters,” Gruel tweeted with the video post. “Please share the logic. Sorry, haven’t had a haircut since March.” 

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