Cooking outside can be a fun challenge, and whether you are serving up burgers or fine dining, you will need to have the same basic elements covered in your outdoor kitchen area. Being able to quickly set up a clean and useful kitchen outdoors is one of those amazing sights that you see every time there is a big music festival, and though it looks complicated, it really is quite simple. If you are organising an event that requires outdoor food production, the following are some of the main elements to keep in mind when creating your kitchen area.
You’re going to need a few main kitchen areas to be able to function effectively. These include the food preparation area, cooking area, cold storage, hot storage and cleaning areas, all of which might require some fencing. You should also create some sort of comfortable break area, as it is important that there is a separate space for your workers to relax on their all-important breaks. A good break area is crucial for events such as festivals where workers often work long days for several days in a row. Part of establishing areas should involve securing a perimeter or fence, as the kitchen’s areas should only have people in them who are meant to be there. Having a physical barrier is also good for preventing pets or wild animals from entering.
If you’re able to run extension cords, having power shouldn’t be a problem, but if power isn’t readily available, you might have to be a little bit more creative and improvise your temperature controls using ice or fire. Otherwise, adjust your menu to have items that you will be able to make without power.
Part of the fun of outside work is that you can find yourself working in fabulous conditions, but sometimes the weather is not so nice, so be prepared for anything and make sure you have some kind of cover for the crucial areas of the kitchen. Even just rigging up a few tarps can prevent the food element of your event from being ruined, so set up a well-protected kitchen area and take the effects of adverse weather out of the equation.
If you have access to drinking water, then that’s great. If not, water can be a big issue. Between the water needed for all of the day’s cooking and cleaning, it takes quite a large amount of water to run a kitchen for the day, so if you don’t have running water, establish a plan for getting some. Even if you fill up five-litre jugs of water at home and bring them to the event, this is better than having to buy water to cook and clean with. Don’t underestimate how much water you’ll need, as running out may grind your kitchen’s production to a halt.
If you have all of your bases covered, cooking outside can be just as simple as cooking indoors -- and maybe even a little more fun!