With the trend for outdoor living showing no signs of slowing down, we spoke to Outdoor Kitchen Expert founders Duncan and Jo to discuss all things cooking al fresco… 

luxury outdoor kitchen

Tell me about Outdoor Kitchen Expert…

We started the outdoor living/kitchen side of the business about three years ago now.

I come from a construction background and had been asked by a few existing clients if we would build outdoor kitchens for them.

It wasn’t something we’d ever done, looked at or thought about, but once we’d done two or three, we realised there was quite a large demand for it.

Then, in lockdown, demand grew massively as people realised the value of their outdoor space, and the business has really grown from there. 

outdoor luxury kitchen

What are the biggest trends for outdoor living and cooking this year? 

We recently became a distributor for bioclimatic canopies, which there’s quite a demand for because it gives you the opportunity to use your space all year round.

We don’t live in a climate that really suits being outdoors all the time, and so if you’re making that investment in what effectively is an extension of your home, putting a structure over that allows you to get sunshine in, open the sides up, but also at the same time, put in some heating, shut it down, block the wind out, and use it all year round.  

The other thing that we’ve seen an uptick in demand for is outdoor televisions.

There are a few products on the market that are specifically designed for outdoor use, and clients often like watching sports outside, especially when paired with an outdoor bar! 

outdoor kitchen

What are your must haves for an outdoor cooking space?

There are certain very practical items that we always include, such as built-in waste and recycling bins and storage – particularly drawers.

I personally think a sink is not necessarily a must-have but is a very useful addition. We always include a fridge and a built-in ice bucket, too. 

Our concept is making something that you can use completely on its own, you don’t have to keep running indoors to grab something, it’s the exact equivalent but outside.

So you have all of your tools outside – salt, pepper herbs – keep it all out there in storage so it’s on hand.  

What are some of your favourite styles? 

I love a wood finish, I particularly like cedar and we do a lot of that combined with charred-finish timber.

The colours together work really well.  

We use a lot of granite, which is a honed finish which offers a really natural look that works beautifully outside. 

We try to match materials with those used in the garden.

We’ve done kitchens with reclaimed timber, which pairs really well with a country garden.  

outdoor kitchen

What’s something that anyone considering an outdoor kitchen needs to bear in mind or needs to know? 

Most importantly, they need to consider their budget.

Be realistic about what it’s going to cost and consider how much you’d spend on a premium kitchen for inside your home – the same will be spent on the outside, plus hard landscaping costs if you don’t already have the foundations.