The classic barbecue is an age-old tradition that has evolved over the years into more sophisticated outdoor setups, ranging from sinks, benches, and multi-functional cooking appliances.
The rise of outdoor cooking
We spoke to Rhys Mellor of Love Kitchens who says the last two years have seen a massive increase in demand for outdoor kitchens. The global pandemic has led to a new appreciation for our homes and specifically the preparation of restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of our homes, regardless of the time of year.
Additionally, advancements in appliances and materials have resulted in a higher caliber of outdoor kitchens that last longer and are equipped to withstand the elements of every season, he explains.
“Outdoor kitchens become an extension of the home. Kiwis are moving away from the traditional barbie and are now honing their cooking skills on pizza ovens, smokers and open fire cooking,” he notes.
For the owners of Alexander Place, the vision for their outdoor entertaining space evolved in the wake of the pandemic and was inspired by the rustic charm of open log fires they had experienced while vacationing down south.
“The time at the house caused the family to re-evaluate what they wanted – an open fireplace for barbecuing and an outdoor kitchen to accompany, both for their extended family.”
Passionate amateurs, the family opted for a Kitchen with Escea EK outdoor fireplacean open fire that doubles as a professional cooking appliance.
“I chose this option because it meant we could return 70% of the chimney to the workshop and finish the rest on site, saving us multiple site visits.”
Rhys had done his research and said the installation was easy and he had a good understanding of what was involved even before he was fired thanks to the comprehensive guides available from Escea.
How to Create an Outdoor Kitchen
So how do you create the perfect outdoor kitchen? In the end, it depends on exactly how you intend to use the space and how much space you have to work with. But whether you crave the perfect flame-grilled meats over an Escea cooking fire or a more modest barbecue, there are a few things your outdoor kitchen can’t live without.
Just as an indoor kitchen with just a free-standing oven would not be considered a “kitchen”; it must be functional, with storage and benches. “We believe an outdoor kitchen should include a bench, sink, faucet and some sort of storage for barbecue equipment to truly create the outdoor cooking experience.”
With the help of Love Kitchens, we’ve compiled a list of outdoor kitchen must-haves and accessories.
- Cooking appliance, i.e. outdoor grill, barbecue or smoker
- Preparation space or bench
- Sink and faucet with hot water
- Trash can
- Storage for outdoor utensils, cooking utensils and cleaning accessories
- Functional lighting
- Fuel storage (i.e. wood, coal or gas)
nice to have
- Dining table and chairs
- Built-in fridge or ice bucket/beverage cooler
- Auxiliary heating, i.e. radiant heaters
- Fresh herb garden or pots