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Millstone Man 02-16-2011 02:47 PM

Outdoor Kitchen Island
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I have been working on my outdoor kitchen and pompei oven for over a year. The oven is complete and working and I'm finishing the exterior stone work very soon and ready to start constructing an island. I have been going back and forth on a design and would welcome any thoughts or comments from this excellent source of WFO enthusiasts on the two designs.

The sketchs were done with google sketchup which is an excellent free program.

Neil2 02-17-2011 12:32 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
Is your island top to be polished concrete ?

I see from your other projects that you are proficient in pouring complex shaped slabs.

Millstone Man 02-17-2011 06:02 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
I don't know about profecient but I will try most things. However I am not going to try the polished concrete. I am not confident I could get it to my satisfaction. I am going with granite.

splatgirl 02-18-2011 10:27 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
I'm not seeing how this layout works...
Your work and traffic flow must be the #1 priority when deciding on a layout.

Have you had any big pizza parties to get an idea of the prep-cook-serve process? I presume, since you're doing a full outdoor kitchen, that you want to be able to do everything out there, yes?
Are you the primary cook?

As a designer, I encounter this all the time--the tragedy of a space beautifully built out by someone who obviously knows what they are doing in the construction realm, but who never considered functional space planning.

1. I think you need way more prep space next to the oven opening. That circular area would not even sort of cut it for me.
I need AT LEAST 4-5 linear feet (counter depth or greater) of prep space for pizzas to accommodate my ingredients and a spot to dip, stretch and build a pie. If I were going all-in as you appear to be, and in a climate like yours, I'd do some kind of refrigerated prep table with ingredient bins like on a restaurant line. At minimum, I'd put an undercounter fridge beneath my prep station.
2. Once the pizza is out of the oven, where are you plating and delivering it? Will you be using that big island as your serving point? IMO, it seems pretty inconvenient to have to walk a pizza over there every two minutes. OR, if you serve from the circular island to your left, where will you prep?
I want to be able to prep, run the oven and serve without having to move more than a few steps.

Can you extend a counter out from the right side of your oven for prep, and make the left side your serving area?

lwood 02-19-2011 04:01 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
Hi Scott,
I'm with Splatgirl. Where is your prep area? It needs to be in-front of the oven. The less walking around with a hot peel or a prepped pizza in your hand the better. You also want to discourage stand-byes near the oven. It's hot and dangerous for the curious bye-stander.

Millstone Man 02-19-2011 08:25 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
Splatgirl/Lwood - Thanks for the comments. I have the large L shaped counter with sink and the center island for counter prep areas. There is a refrigerator planned under the island on the "kitchen" side. My thought is the pizza building would be done on the island extension (plan 1) standing on the "kitchen" side. Easy access to sink, refrigerator, and stove (work triangle). The pizzas would then be transferred to/from the placing peel and/or plating on the small radius to the left of the oven. There is enough room between the island and oven for two people to pass comfortably. Guests could gather around the large radius (around 5' or more) on the other end. There is still room for table and chairs under roof and not interfere with the "working" space directly in front of the oven.

We have had a few smaller parties so far and have negotiated from the indoor kitchen through the construction to the oven. I have found my guests like to build the pizzas and therefore they can do so in the kitchen area and let me work the oven. Of course all of this is based on the one working the oven is not the primary pizza builder.

While form should always follow function the overall layout also takes into account it is major view from the back of the house every day. I wanted to be able to see the fire in the oven from any angle along the back of the house.

Does my explanation help or hurt my case? Thanks again for any comments and observations.

lwood 02-19-2011 02:48 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
I just see lots of peels, pizzas, and people around the oven area and which IMHO is a disaster. I try to keep people away from the oven but close enough to see it rise and bake in 2 or 3 minutes (they are always blown away). But all those people are out of the cooking/prep area. Your kitchen triangle is the open dough-prep-oven areas. Sink is just a nice to have close by, not an integral part of the process.

splatgirl 02-19-2011 04:37 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
I guess I was envisioning the scenario as you describe it, but where I get hung up is having the plating/finished pie traffic cross paths with the prep/"bake me" traffic.

It would be my priority to separate those two activities as much as possible but I can't seem to envision a viable alternative to your layout short of putting something to the right of the oven or in front of the oven as lwood suggested.

When thinking about the work triangle for a WFO it's prep-bake-serve. The sink and refrigerator don't even come into play for me. The refrig. maybe if I need to pull back-stock of ingredients, but that happens rarely or once a party max.

I dunno. I routinely have WFO parties where I am cooking 30-40 pizzas in an afternoon, so I am used to crazy. A small party for me would be 20 pizzas and two or three hot apps. At the very least, I have to assist with the stretching/building of every pie. My house formula for dough is VERY high hydration (and also truly the best I have ever had, anywhere, so I'm not changing it) and it doesn't tolerate a slow build or dilly dallying. With both of those things in mind, here's no way having such a remote prep would work for me unless/until someone else learns how to run the oven to my standards ;) I'm still working on that.

Millstone Man 02-19-2011 08:23 PM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
Thanks again for the comments.

lwood 02-20-2011 04:48 AM

Re: Outdoor Kitchen Island
What if you put the semi-circular surface on the right side of the oven instead of the left side. You could use the left side island as the prep are and the right side as the serving area. That way they are not running into each other. Maybe even bring the island closer to the oven. So you can just scoop up the pie with the peel and toss it in the oven. Once cooked, the pizza goes to the right, cut and served.

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