Queensland’s outdoor lifestyle is tempting foodies out into the backyard.
A simple barbeque beside the pool is no longer enough for Queensland home chefs.
Extravagant outdoor kitchens, kitted out with all the trappings of high-end cookeries, are the order of the day.
Jillian Simonds from Aussie BBQs says outdoor kitchens are becoming more popular every year.
“It’s the lifestyle that you can have in Brisbane,” she says. “People want to eat outdoors, do everything outdoors, yet also be in the comfort of their home.Some people are putting in outdoor fireplaces as well; they’re going camping without having to pack up and actually go.”
New cooking trends have driven a turn towards more sophisticated gadgetry and varied appliances.
“A lot of great ideas are coming from the US – they have always been into barbequing,” says Simonds. “The increase in popularity of charcoal-cooking is incredible – people are going for really upmarket kamados, charcoal cookers and wood pellet cookers, where the smoke puts all that lovely flavour through the food.
“People are even putting woodchips in gas barbeques. You end up with this fantastic barbeque aroma around your outdoor room.”
Another big trend is pizza ovens, best for achieving that delicious, wood-fired taste.
Creating the outdoor kitchen Kathy Panos was excited to include a pizza oven when building her outdoor kitchen space.
“When we were looking for all the barbeque materials I saw it and I just fell in love,” she says. “It’s not just for pizza, we can use it to make traditional Greek food as well;we’re from a Greek background and there they build their own big cement ovens and cook everything outside.
“I remember eating food from those ovens;they made fantastic meals.”
Being able to socialise with guests while entertaining was the main reason Panos wanted to create a culinary area outside.
“We love cooking and we’re very big on family parties – my house is the party house, more or less!” she says. “So I thought – why should I be inside all the time when everyone’s outside? I had the space and I’ve always wanted a kitchen outside so I’m not stuck going in and out.”
With the space fully kitted-out with weather-proof appliances, a cold room, an outdoors television and stereo system, there’s no reason to stay inside.
“I’m going to make the inside the butler’s kitchen and cook the whole time outdoors,” says Panos. “It’s more or less the entertainment area where everyone sits.
“It’s exactly what I dreamed of having; a beautiful outdoor kitchen.”