Summer Cookouts Are Hot!

Outdoor kitchens—just like the Fords’—are a perfect setting for warm California nights
Outdoor Kitchens
Eichler owner Peter Ford and his family at their outdoor kitchen.
(photo: David Toerge)

Twice a week during the summer, Peter Ford ignores the brand-new indoor kitchen in his Sunnyvale Eichler to feed his family in the great out-of-doors. His outside kitchen is a recent addition, too—and Peter loves it.

“I don’t feel like I’m out there stranded,” he says. “It feels like an extension of the house.”

Whether he’s cooking for his family of four or for a large gathering, Peter says his family’s outdoor kitchen, which cost only $7,000 to build, makes everything easy. “You don’t have to pull out the barbecue, find the charcoals, start the fire,” he says. “The kitchen is right there, and it’s integrated into my regular cooking routine.”

At a recent party for 20, with kids splashing in the backyard pool, the scene around the Fords’ front-courtyard grill was quieter, thanks to planning that provided comfortable seating. “It’s nice to have an environment where people can sit and join in,” Peter says.

Tips from the chef?

“Think about what you’ll really use the outdoor kitchen for and how you like to cook.”

Read more about the Ford family’s outdoor kitchen—and how to build one of your own—in our special preview of the summer ‘12 CA-Modern magazine—‘Cooking on the Wild Side.’