The sky is definitely the limit when it comes to designing and equipping today’s outdoor living areas. More and more, outdoor kitchens are a big demand feature in Ottawa and they being built for durable, year-round use.
Not surprisingly, a customized outdoor kitchen takes pride of place in the pool and patio backyard of Chuck Shabsove, who owns Capital Appliance & BBQ. The impressive stone kitchen and bar, with an array of high-end elements, ramps up the entertaining level in an outdoor space that is enhanced by a fire-pit, accent lighting and an integrated sound system.
Built to last in lead stone with a distinctive granite worktop, the exspansive L-shaped kitchen has both a gas BBQ and a Kamado grill. “I use charcoal for low and slow cooking which is perfect for large pieces of meat, ribs and steaks,” says Chuck who is in charge of the outdoor kitchen and did most of the planning. He does thank his wife Adrienne for her idea of adding a cedar roof with a heater so he can cook in all types of weather.
Chuck’s biggest must-have feature is the sleek style of the DCS (Dynamic Cooking System) BBQ, which he says is the best on the market and will last a lifetime. The ceramic, convection-type cooking of the Big Green Egg was also critical for him, together with plenty of specialized drawers for storage, a fridge, sink and ice-chest.
“I also enjoy having so much work space and a bar with high stools, which is great for getting the guys to hang out with me at the BBQ,” says the engaging cook. He credits landscape contractor Luc Ranger, for designing the space which includes patio heaters and Napoleon torches built into columns for warmth and ambiance.
“Luc convinced me to go for the accent garden lighting and I’m so glad we kept it in the budget,” says Chuck, who adds that the spa lighting gives a very different feel to the area at night. Whether Chuck is entertaining for a crowd, relaxing with Adrienne or listening to music through the landscaped rock speakers, he loves to chill in their slice of paradise in the city.
EXPERT PLANNING ADVICE
Chuck combined his BBQ business IQ with the expertise of his general manager and outdoor-kitchen specialist Joe Whitfield, who guided the process. Joe explained that the first thing he asks any client is how they envision using the space, its size, what type of cooking device they want and how they like to cook.
“If you’re building an outdoor kitchen, obviously you want to stop going in and out of the house, so storage is a big factor,” says Joe, listing all the many utensils, tools and equipment needed for food prep, cooking and serving.
With a wide range of gas, charcoal or wood-driven BBQs on the market in variety of stone, stainless steel or black finishes, deciding on the right cooking appliance is step one. They come with storage drawers, doors and countertops in a selection of styles and colours in durable materials that can withstand Ottawa winters.
Next up is choosing accessory elements, says Joe. “People like the power burners for big-pot cooking, and often opt for two fridges to separate food and drink.” He adds that sinks are very useful, but can involve expensive plumbing challenges.
Lavish features can include an entertainment area with a cocktail centre; margarita makers; cutting boards that drop down into a garbage chute; and BBQs with windows in an easy-lift lid, interior lighting, lit knobs and digital thermometers. Clearly, outdoor living is now a comfortable and convenient expansion of the home that promotes an easy, breezy entertaining style.