United Kingdom

Would you spend £20,000 on an OUTDOOR kitchen?

Until recently, cooking outside in the UK has largely been confined to searing burgers over a humble BBQ - and hoping the heavens don't open.  

However, a fast-growing trend for outdoor kitchens - fired up by celebrity chefs and A-listers in sunnier climes - puts everything from wine coolers to integrated grills and pizza ovens in an outdoor entertaining space. 

Tap in the hashtag #outdoorkitchen on Instagram and a host of high-spec al fresco preparation areas flash up. 

While a fully-fledged kitchen outside might once have been the preserve of properties in holiday hotspots, it seems lockdown has left more of us thinking about installing one. 

How much do they cost? Whatever you want to pay...although, it's worth noting if you want mod cons that can endure an nippy British winter, you might find yourself on the wrong side of £30,000. 

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Let's take this outside! Chef James Martin and Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh filming in a stylish outdoor kitchen; cooking up a storm al fresco has become increasingly popular in recent months

A grill and a chiminea: TV chef Phil Vickery showed off his impressive garden kitchen set-up on This Morning during a lockdown cookery session last year

Tottenham Hotspur Executive Head chef Mark Reynolds told FEMAIL he built his own garden kitchen himself for around £5,000. The outdoor space includes a ceramic BBQ, pizza oven and induction fryer

Chef Mark, pictured left, said he decided to create the outdoor kitchen to stop 'stinking the house out' when cooking steaks and burgers. A sink is essential and Mark says investing in a decent BBQ that will stand up to the elements is a good investment

Tottenham Hotspur Executive Head chef Mark Reynolds, who's currently creating dishes for the England football team, told FEMAIL that he made his own outdoor kitchen three years ago for around £5,000 - and it includes a ceramic BBQ, pizza oven and induction fryer. 

He picked up the pizza oven in the winter and got it for half price, and managed through his job to get a trade price on the ceramic Kamado Joe BBQ and his grill.

Reynolds, who lives in Upminster with his wife and 18-year-old son, said: 'We use it all year around; if you're cooking steaks or burgers, you don't get smoke in the house. 

How the Big Green Egg (with the BIG price tag) became the must-have BBQ

The Big Green Egg has won fans for its high-tech spec - which was inspired by Nasa's use of ceramics 

Stars including David Beckham and Liz Hurley have shared pictures of themselves cooking on a Big Green Egg — a barbecue made from Nasa-inspired ceramics that retails at around £3,000.

The dome-shaped appliance — rust-proof and burn-proof — has a distinctive green, dimpled exterior and comes in six sizes. 

The largest product, the 2XL, weighs 170kg and can cook up to 16 whole chickens or an entire suckling pig. It costs £2,950 on its own, or £3,350 with a metal nest stand.

'It is an indulgence and it's not cheap to do but it's a great selling point if we ever want to move.'

Mark says the family used it every day during the warm weather of last year's lock down. 

'The other weekend, we had an Italian night...we had restaurant music and I cooked pizzas to order and baked a lasagne. It was lovely. For big groups, it's hard to book a restaurant so it's worked really well.'

Elsewhere, swish Devon property Glenridge, currently on the market for £1.4million with estate agents John Couch, has a fully-equipped garden kitchen that was inspired by a pre-pandemic trip to the Chelsea Flower Show.  

The current owner told FEMAIL: 'We had an area of garden that needed landscaping but went to Chelsea Flower Show and got inspired by al fresco dining ideas.'

The appeal they say, has been the potential to host bigger gatherings in your own outdoor space. 

'We've had memorable birthday meals - my two daughters both have July birthdays and although we couldn’t have a big celebration when they turned 16 and 18 last year because of Covid, we managed a get-together in beautiful weather - making it an evening the family will never forget.'

Hollywood stars on sun-drenched terraces in LA and celebrity chefs in the UK - including James Martin and Phil Vickery filming for This Morning - have all shared photos of impressive outdoor cooking spaces. 

Many of them centre around the hottest - literally and metaphorically - BBQ of the moment, the Big Green Egg, which comes with a £3,000 price tag, but can be integrated into a worktop to give the feel of a real kitchen. 

Outdoor Furniture specialist Gaze Burvill say interest in outdoor kitchens has soared this year. 

Owner Caroline Burvill said: 'We've had lots of enquiries and I think it's a coming together of people loving to cook and people loving to be outside. 

'In this country, traditionally we've separated garden and house. As we've travelled and enjoyed holidays - the Tuscan al fresco lunch, for example - we want our own spaces to be as lovely and sociable as the inside of our houses.' 

The sky's the limit in terms of what you can include too, she says, with most things that you'll find in a standard kitchen able to cross over into an outdoor space.  

Can an outdoor kitchen survive an inclement British winter though? 

Burvill says that while you may have to cover grills, the kitchens are designed to not be sullied by weather. 

The owner of swish Devon property Glenridge, currently on the market for £1.4million with estate agents John Couch, has a fully-equipped garden kitchen that was inspired by a pre-pandemic trip to the Chelsea Flower Show which showed visitors how to make more of their garden space

The outdoor kitchen, which includes a sink and drinks fridge had come into its own during lockdown, said the property owners, saying they'd been able to safely host outdoor family parties last summer

'The electrics are beefed up and made for outdoor use but essentially it's the same products that you'd get in an ordinary kitchen. You could even have a dishwasher - although the trend seems to be more for preparation and storage space.' 

Natural stone or wood work well for outdoor surfaces, with Caroline's company using a brand called Dekton, which is UV-resistant and won't fade. 

Wood such as oak is a good choice but will need re-oiling after three to four years to extend life and stop the natural silvering process, she adds.  

In terms of style, interior designer Martin Waller tells FEMAIL that it's important to bring the intimacy of an indoor kitchen to an al fresco space. 

He says: 'An outdoor kitchen needs to be cosy just as much as an internal kitchen. Adding texture to your outdoor kitchen adds comfort as well as creating an inviting seating area. With the addition of textile accessories, it brings softness to all those hard surfaces. 

Caroline Burvill, from British garden furniture company Gaze Burvill, told Femail that Brits are keen to recreate the Mediterranean-style terrace kitchens they've enjoyed on holiday

How the humble BBQ has evolved: Stylish outdoor preparation areas often include a ceramic BBQ, drinks cooler and a grill - and plenty of workspace

Appliances are essentially 'beefed up' versions of what you'd find indoors and can endure a harsh British winter -  but, take note, they can be expensive, with ceramic BBQs often costing thousands rather than hundreds 

British oak is a perfect material to make outdoor cabinets with - but must be re-oiled every three to four years to keep it looking in pristine condition

Best of both: This covered outdoor kitchen has a window wall and partition wall to offer some shelter

He continues: 'Cushions can be placed on bar stools and banquette seating. As well as bringing much needed comfort to your garden seating, the addition of outdoor cushions allows you to blur the lines between interior and exterior helping to create a space that is often left unused through half the year, feel like a carefully considered living area.'

And after dinner, you can gather around the outdoor fire place...

Gather around the (outdoor) fireplace: firepits were a popular lockdown purchase but installing a more permanent surround is also on the rise 

While not the most eco-friendly way to keep warm in a garden, fire surrounds in gardens are taking the lockdown purchase of a fire pit to another level by making it an architectural feature in your green space. 

While outdoor woodburners - much like the ones you'd find inside a toasty pub - are proving popular, some people are bringing the whole surround outside, installing stone fireplaces to burn wood on a chillier evening.

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