Why we’ve fallen in love with outdoor kitchens

The founder of CENA Outdoor, Jacques Shelton, left a career in hospitality to launch an innovative garden furniture business and then decided to combine his passions for cooking, design and spending time with family and friends to reinvent the outdoor kitchen. He shared his views on why the time for the outdoor kitchen has come.

Why have the British fallen for outdoor kitchens?

There are a number of reasons; one is that lockdown really demonstrated how much more enjoyment we can extract from outdoor spaces than we did previously. Outdoor kitchens transform the way that we experience our gardens, connecting us with the world outside, creating a social hub for cooking and entertaining and allowing us to maximise the amount of time we spend outside.

For those with a kitchen garden, there’s nothing nicer than cooking and eating food that has been grown a few feet away. As an experience, you can’t compare it to the frenetic (and sometimes lonely) business of preparing food for guests inside. With the advances in outdoor heating options, outdoor kitchens are allowing us to enjoy our gardens throughout the season – and also to start it earlier and end it later.


Credit: CENA Outdoor

Can an outdoor kitchen accommodate all those things that an indoor kitchen can?

Yes, anything can be incorporated, from induction hobs, ovens and gas grills to side burners, fridges and pizza ovens. There are also things you can employ outside that may not be available indoors such as wood fired or charcoal cooking. Another benefit of lockdown is that many people discovered how much they enjoy both cooking for themselves and also entertaining friends and family at home. Being able to combine both these highly pleasurable activities in the great outdoors is a truly life enhancing experience.

Credit: Dug Wilders / CENA Outdoor

Are there any compromises to be made?

Not at all, if anything, the freedom to design a kitchen that isn’t constrained by a room layout is very exciting and I always encourage clients to use that freedom to create a freestanding layout that is often the most sociable arrangement allowing cooks to face their guests, to use the kitchen as a bar and also a place to enjoy more casual meals.

What do you consider to be the magic ingredient?

Without a doubt, the magic ingredient is taking a completely bespoke approach to every project. Because every outdoor space and every client is different, bespoke is a big focus for us as a business. While it doesn’t add to the cost it massively adds to the design – and ultimately the enjoyment.

CENA Glasgow Outdoor Kitchen

Credit: CENA Outdoor

How does an indoor kitchen compare to an outdoor kitchen?

The principal difference is ensuring that it will withstand the weather through a combination of design, construction and materials. Beyond that, an outdoor kitchen can be anything you want it to be.

What features do you like to incorporate?

The possibilities are endless; from lighting, illuminated features and heating to blinds, pergolas, and laser cut decorative panels. But, just as with the inside of a house, the key features require the most thought to create a sociable, multifunctional island that relates well to the area where you and your guests will be eating and relaxing.

See more at www.cenaoutdoor.co.uk

Credit: CENA Outdoor