The rise of the year-round outdoor kitchen

The rise of the year-round outdoor kitchen

The classic barbeque is a time-honoured tradition amongst Kiwi’s – it gets us outside and enjoying the company of our loved ones, and the nostalgic smell of ever-so-slightly charred sausages.

Like many, it’s a custom that has evolved over the years – no longer confined to the summer months or limited to a standard BBQ – we’re now seeing more and more sophisticated outdoor setups extending to sinks, benches, and multi-functional cooking appliances.  We’re seeing outdoor kitchens.

Escea’s Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen was designed for serious flame grillers who want to hone their culinary skills and impress their friends and family.

We spoke to Rhys Mellor from Love Kitchens who says that the last couple of years have seen a massive increase in demand for outdoor kitchens. The impact of the global pandemic has resulted in a new appreciation for our homes and specifically, cooking restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of our homes, whatever the time of year.

In addition to this, Rhys says advancements in appliances and materials have resulted in a higher calibre of outdoor kitchens that are longer lasting and equipped to withstand the elements of every season.

“Outdoor kitchens are becoming an extension of the home. Kiwi’s are moving away from the traditional barbie and are now honing their culinary skills on pizza ovens, smokers and open fire cooking.”  – Rhys Mellor

“We also love a bit of praise don’t we, so sharing amazing flame grilling skills with friends and family is a plus”.

Escea’s Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen was designed for serious flame grillers who want to hone their culinary skills and impress their friends and family.


Alexander Place

For the owners of Alexander Place, the vision for their outdoor entertaining area evolved in the wake of the pandemic and was inspired by the rustic charm of open wood fires they had experienced holidaying down south.  

“Time at home made the family reassess what they wanted – an open fireplace for barbequing and an outdoor kitchen to accompany, both catering for their extended family.”

Keen entertainers, the family decided on an Escea EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen, an open fire that doubles as a professional cooking appliance.

“The Escea EK1250 was chosen very early on, and we actually designed the kitchen around it, making it the main feature and working from there.”

The fireplace was installed using the Escea EK Kitset Framing System with boxes for wood added either side. It was then surrounded by fibreboard, fixed into a steel frame, and finished with a render.

“I chose this option because it meant we could render 70% of the fireplace in the workshop and finish the remainder on-site, saving multiple site visits.”

Rhys had done his research and said that installation was easy, and he had a good understanding of what was involved before he had even received the fire thanks to the comprehensive guides available from Escea.

“The quality of the EK does not disappoint and being kiwi-made, we were proud to have it in one of our 100% kiwi-made quality kitchens.”

Once the cooking is done, the EK transforms into a roaring woodfire – keeping you company into the small hours.

How to create an outdoor kitchen

So, how do you create the perfect outdoor kitchen? Ultimately it depends on exactly how you intend to use the space and how much space you have to work with. But whether you’re dreaming of the perfect flame-grilled meats on an Escea cooking fire, or a more modest BBQ there are a few things your outdoor kitchen can’t do without.

Just like an indoor kitchen with just a freestanding oven wouldn’t qualify as a ‘kitchen’ – it needs to be functional, with storage and benches. “We believe an outdoor kitchen needs to include a bench, sink, tap and some kind of storage for BBQ gear to truly create the outdoor cooking experience”.

With the help of Love Kitchens, we’ve put together a list of outdoor kitchen must-haves and nice-to-haves.


  • Cooking appliance ie outdoor grill, bbq or smoker
  • Prep space or benchtop
  • Sink & tap with hot water
  • Rubbish bin
  • Storage for outdoor utensils, cookware and cleaning accessories
  • Functional lighting
  • Fuel storage (ie wood, coal or gas)


  • Dining table & chairs
  • Shelter
  • Fridge or built-in ice bucket/drinks cooler
  • Supplementary heating ie radiant heaters
  • Fresh herb garden or pots
  • Speakers


Discover our range of outdoor wood and gas fireplaces and work on your own outdoor kitchen now.  

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