Every kitchen is a mix of aesthetics and function. It needs to perform all the tasks the cook needs, but it should also match the décor and style of the home.
That’s particularly true when it comes to outdoor kitchens. Are you looking for something that will handle a crowd of hungry swimmers at the boathouse, or a sleek and elegant backyard cooking oasis for an evening with a few friends? Is your cottage a rustic cabin or a modern showplace? Your answers will affect not just the look, but also the choice of cooking appliances you install in your outdoor kitchen.
For an informal style of outdoor cooking and entertainment, the Kota Grill offers cooks a unique experience. “It’s wood or charcoal burning,” says Peter Briese, owner of Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre. “You can seat people around it, so you’ve got that cooking experience where you are sharing it with your family and friends.”
“It’s a portable firepit, barbecue and picnic table. Everyone can cook on the fire together and it becomes a social hub.”
The grill comes from Finland and celebrates the act of preparing and cooking food as a communal activity. “There’s a bar for hanging meats as well as a true North American-style grill. There’s a flat plate that you can cook Teppanyaki on, and there’s a rotating grill where you can flip a whole series of burgers in one turn. It’s really a different cooking experience. There are so many different ways to cook with it that it becomes more than a single appliance.”
The premium package includes a hood with a chimney that draws the smoke up and away from guests sitting around the appliance.
“I find that people at the cottage are wanting to spend more time cooking in different ways and the Kota Grill is going to allow them to do that,” Peter says. “If someone wants a different style of cooking appliance, something to complement their gas grill, this is cooking over an open flame in an exceptional way.”
With the Kota Grill, you aren’t confined to a single location, either. You really can take this out to your fishing hut or down to the beach. You can follow the sun around your property with it or leave it on your patio for the family’s evening s’mores get-together.
Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre is the exclusive Canadian dealer for the Kota Grill. “We are the only place in the country where you can come and play with the grill and see how it works.”
If your idea of outdoor cooking is a little more genteel, Peter carries almost anything you need to make your outdoor kitchen the envy of your neighbors. “Our outdoor kitchens are for someone who wants to go next level,” he says.
Peter and his staff will assess customers’ needs and put together a package that fits into their world. “Maybe you want an ice maker, a fridge, an oven, or a cocktail station,” he says. “My kitchen has a beer keg!”
“Maybe you want a power burner next to your grill for lobster and corn. Some people want a garbage receptacle or a sink. There are so many ideas and possibilities.”
Whatever the elements that make up your backyard kitchen, Peter always advises investing in quality. Brands he recommends include Big Green Egg, Broil King, Hestan, Bromic, Crown Verity, Evo, Fontana, Komado Joe, Lynx, Traegar, Weber and Kota, manufacturers whose products will last and perform well for many years. They can all be viewed, handled and coveted at the new location at 16 Bruce Wilson Drive, by the Foodland, in Port Carling.
If you need some inspiration for the outdoor kitchen you plan to build, Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre has a newly opened design centre with several outdoor kitchen displays. It is located at 3855 Muskoka Road Hwy 118 W in Port Carling, and is open by appointment only.
One of those display kitchens showcases the exceptional Crown Verity brand, demonstrating the uses of modular kitchen design. Another features a high-end line of Hestan products, new to Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre, in powder-coated stainless steel Danver cabinetry.
Muskoka BBQ & Outdoor Kitchen Centre prides itself on its full service offering. “We help you identify which components you require,” says Peter. “We start at the design process and help you figure out your package. Then we do the installation, if required.”
Peter will even come out to the client’s new kitchen after installation and cook a meal alongside them, to ensure they are completely comfortable with how to operate every component of the kitchen.
It’s easy to see why Peter is so proud of the new showroom. “There are few barbecue shops in Canada that allow you to touch and feel everything and have this type of selection in a cottage setting.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL