Outdoor kitchens: Fun with garden gastronomy
In summer, everyone is tempted outdoors. We yearn to escape our own four walls and spend as much time as possible al fresco. On the balcony or in the garden, outdoor kitchens leave the simple barbecue in the shade, and are becoming more and more versatile. Thanks to modular systems and durable materials, entire kitchenettes can now be found outside.
Outdoor kitchens stand for social get-togethers and culinary delights in the open air.
Outdoor kitchens: from entry-level to professional models
Cooking has become a lifestyle trend and is increasingly moving out of doors. The kitchen trends for 2021 clearly show that open-plan kitchen layouts are becoming more and more popular for social gatherings. And it’s not just indoors that people are cooking up a storm – the pastime is also being enjoyed in gardens and on balconies. In many outdoor areas, humble barbecues have long since given ground to entire cooking stations that are no less well equipped than conventional indoor kitchens.
Versatility is particularly sought after when it comes to outdoor kitchens, and suppliers are responding to the growing need for customisable designs. The spectrum ranges from simple barbecue stations to compact kitchen islands all the way to spacious kitchenettes. Rather than being restricted to gas or charcoal, as with traditional barbecues, outdoor kitchens can be fitted with various additional cooking appliances, such as ovens, induction stoves, sinks, fridges and even extractor hoods.
Individual units for cooking and food preparation can be combined in a modular system. Many modular outdoor kitchens can be extended with the gradual addition of new elements. Even compact pizza or wood-fired ovens are available. Elements such as a barbecue grill, a greenhouse for herbs or a bar provide extra functions and create a homely atmosphere in the garden.
Balcony cooking with compact outdoor kitchens
An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to mean a huge worktop with an integrated barbecue grill. A wealth of solutions with smaller footprints are available, too. In large cities in particular, space is often at a premium, and large gardens are something of a rarity. Compact outdoor kitchens are the ideal solution for those who might only have a small balcony but still want to enjoy the al fresco cooking experience.
With just a few additional modules, a barbecue can be upgraded to a mini outdoor kitchen. A simple kitchen trolley can be repurposed as a worktop, and shelves provide extra storage space for barbecue utensils and crockery. Mobile units with wheels are especially practical when space is limited. They can be pushed to one side quickly, giving greater flexibility.
What to look for when buying
If you’re interested in an outdoor kitchen – whether fixed in position or mobile – there are a few things you should think about before making a purchase. As well as personal preferences, the main aspects to consider are weatherproof materials, the right location and suitable equipment.
By far the most crucial question when buying an outdoor kitchen is where will it go? There are a few points to be aware of here. Ideally, your outdoor kitchen should be placed in as sheltered a position as possible and not directly in the wind. If possible, choose a covered location. This will allow you to continue cooking and barbecuing even when it’s raining. The supply of water and energy must play a pivotal role in your plans. The closer the outdoor kitchen is to the building, the easier it will be to lay the critical supply lines.
Before committing to a purchase, it’s important that you ask yourself what appliances you actually need and how much space is available to accommodate them. Choosing between a gas, electric or charcoal barbecue is entirely down to personal preference. Depending on the model, many barbecues can be extended with a stovetop. This is particularly useful if you intend to prepare soups or sauces in the garden alongside meat and vegetables. If there’s enough space, a sink is a handy addition, enabling you to wash up crockery immediately after eating rather than having to carry it inside. Outdoor shelves and sideboards provide extra storage space for cooking and barbecue utensils.
Permanently installed outdoor kitchens, which are very similar to their indoor cousins, stay outdoors all year round, so they need to be weatherproof and able to withstand rain, snow and wind. When buying one, it’s therefore important to check that the materials are robust. Stainless steel is recommended for sinks and taps. Natural stone, tiles or acrylic composites are good choices for worktops, because they are easy to clean and maintain. If you choose wooden cabinet doors, they should be varnished with a special oil and weatherproofed. To protect all the electrical devices in the colder months, it’s worth investing in a rainproof cover. This will also protect against weathering and extend the life of your outdoor kitchen.
Enjoy life al fresco with an outdoor kitchen
Whether it’s a large kitchen island with an integrated barbecue station, an extra worktop or a small-scale, mobile grill station, outdoor kitchens are an option for almost any garden or balcony. Thanks to the customisable design possibilities, outdoor kitchens can be extended bit by bit and tailored to suit personal budgets and individual requirements.
If you’ve been inspired to take the fun of cooking outdoors, you can find more exciting ideas on ambista .