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 In Lifestyle

Al Fresco Living

With warmer weather here it’s time to scrub down the hotplate, check the gas bottle and fire up the barbecue once again

Cooking  al fresco has been part of Australian culture for…well, forever. And why not? Our climate lets us enjoy the outdoors for most of the year and who wants to cook indoors on warm summer evenings?

Nowadays, however, we’re taking our outdoor cooking to another level of sophistication, with the growing trend of full outdoor kitchens.

A perfect example of a complete luxury outdoor kitchen can be found at a property currently listed by Marshall White in Brighton East. This new five bedroom home features a  kitchen with a wok burner, barbecue and drinks fridge in a dedicated covered outdoor meals area.

Gary Martin, CEO of Complete Outdoor Kitchens, tells how his perspective on outdoor space was changed when an architect said to him, “Walk to the back door and look out. You see a backyard. I see another room”.

This sums up beautifully how, in recent decades, Australians have changed their attitude to what was a backyard with a stand alone barbeque on the lawn to an outdoor room featuring dedicated design, cabinetry and appliances.

The outdoor kitchen is fast becoming a must-have for new homes and for backyard renovations with many builders having the foresight to get the electricity, gas and waste pipes installed ready for one in the future.

While there are many modular outdoor kitchens on offer, many homeowners in the premium end of the market select bespoke design

“We always build bespoke cabinetry for the space, rather than use modular material” says Martin, “So the size of the kitchen area doesn’t matter too much.”

Benchtops, of course have to be weatherproof. Many compound materials suitable for indoors are unsuitable outdoors because they won’t withstand UV radiation. This makes natural stone an all-round favourite for its beauty and practicality.

There are also some amazing BBQs we can’t wait to hit our shores such as the colourful Hestan Outdoor Deluxe Grilll and the Everdue Hub 2 designed by Heston Blumenthal.

Apart from a top-of-the-range barbecue, your typical premium outdoor kitchen might also include two to four side burners, sink facilities, a pizza oven, a smoker, a spit, waste and recycling bin cupboards and a full-size refrigerator and freezer. And, of course, a dedicated fridge for the champagne.

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