Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Outdoor Kitchens

I've got a few bemused comments on the phenomenon of the outdoor kitchen. I have yet to visit one or have a client request one, but I can see from the gardening magazines and home improvement TV that the idea is hugely popular.

Possibly, outdoor kitchens work fine in other climates. But in Houston, I have doubts. I assume the first step for meal prep would be to run a leaf blower. Would guests want to eat anything from a kitchen which, by its nature, has unlimited access for cockroaches? Even in my slackest maintenance moments for my indoor kitchen, I do not have opossums taking a walk on the countertop. What ever else the chef must do, he has to plan on really cleaning every surface before the first tomato is sliced.

What makes the outdoor kitchen odd to me is it is not just that it is unclean. I’m not too fastidious--I eat things right out of the garden without washing them. I grill outside and camp. But the other thing is that the outdoor kitchen is no bargain at $15,000+. I am pretty sure that the $15,000 is a price tag for an idea of leisure, good company and meals together. If you have the money but not the life, maybe it seems like a good trade.

I thought last weekend’s TNLA Landscape Expo would have outdoor kitchens galore, but no. Maybe we are seeing the end of the fad in general, or maybe the market for outdoor kitchens in this area is nil and the industry knows it.


Mary Beth said...

I by-passed the one outdoor kitchen/fireplace display since that is definitely not in my budget! You make a good point about the necessary clean-up prior to cooking. Cleaning the exterior of my gas grill is all the kitchen cleaning I care to do outside! Actually I was just more interested in the green lines at the Expo
Mary Beth @ Cultivating Paradise

JC said...

I've been fascinated with the ideas of outdoor kitchens and have seen some first hand that were pretty amazing. You make a great point about cleanliness, although some of the outdoor kitchens include sinks, I think I would want my food prepared indoors. We have a home, decorating, and remodeling show coming to Nashville in 2 weeks and I'm curious to see if outdoor kitchens will be on display.