Who designed your outdoor kitchen? Local
landscape designer Denise Wahl.
What were the design challenges you faced?
Of course there are always challenges in design
and implementation, but nothing atypical for
an outdoor space. We were lucky in that regard.
Are there any specific design details that are
unique to you? I specifically wanted a wood-fire grill, since a lot of the Middle Eastern food
and cooking I grew up with tastes best when
cooked over a wood fire.
If you could choose just one grill component
for a small kitchen, what would it be? I would
choose the wood-fire grill — as it turns out, I
use that more than anything else. However,
it may not be doable for someone with a small
kitchen. For a small outdoor kitchen, a basic
gas grill is the best thing that you can get. It’s
the most versatile.
Is there anything you would add or change
in your kitchen? In general, I’m pretty happy
with my kitchen. Most of our outdoor kitchen
is covered, and it’s partially enclosed. We love
hosting big Thanksgiving dinners outside.
However, in the past few years, we’ve discovered that it gets cold out here. We’re in the
process of building some “walls” with fabric so
that we have a little bit more protection from
the wind during the colder days.
Gas, charcoal or wood? Definitely wood.
How many cooks in the kitchen? My whole fam-
ily loves to jump in. We all help with meals, but
my wife, Diane, is definitely the head chef in our
home. She keeps us all organized and having fun.
Can you tell us a little about your garden and what
you like to incorporate into your outdoor cook-
ing and entertaining? The garden is really my
wife Diane’s domain. She has planted a number
of crops over the years, but at this time, she’s
mostly focused on planting tomatoes and herbs
for her bloody marys. I definitely incorporate a
lot of the herbs from the garden into my cooking.
What is your favorite way to entertain and
host a dinner party? I don’t believe that being
the host means you have to serve everyone.
In order to enjoy the company of your friends
and family as much as possible, consider doing
some self-serve options. I like to open up the
wine, place it on a side table with glasses, and
encourage guests to help themselves instead
of waiting to be served.
What are some of your favorite meals to prepare for family and friends? The wood oven
really lends well to making amazing lafas
(Middle Eastern flatbreads). We grill vegetables
and fish, select fresh items from the garden and
layer them all on these amazing yogurt flatbreads. They’re the perfect outdoor meal. m