An outdoor fireplace kitchen that fuses the charm of wood fire with the prowess of a professional cooking unit
In the early stages of designing the EK Series, Escea enlisted the help of award-winning New Zealand chef Greg Piner. Sharing Escea’s passion for cooking in the outdoors, Greg was the perfect person to share his cooking expertise, knowledge and experience with Escea’s engineers and designers to advise on all things flame cooking. The perfect fusion of food and flame with Escea’s Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen.
Greg’s advice helped inspire the intricate design of the cooking appliance so that it had all the functionality and convenience found in the kitchen. He suggested what heights and levels the grills should be, the addition of meat hooks and an ember generator to achieve the perfect temperate for cooking a smoky, flame-grilled feast.
With an impressive career spanning 20-plus years working in some of New Zealand’s leading restaurants, Greg’s passion for his craft is clear, and the way Greg talks about his love for cooking is truly genuine.
Working in big name restaurants across New Zealand, ranging from Millbrook and Blanket Bay in Queenstown, to Mikano in Auckland, and now No.7 Balmac in Dunedin, Greg is as humble as it gets — despite the numerous awards under his hat.
He says the secret to a good dish is “something simple that excites your palette — it’s not just about the taste but the texture and combination of flavours, too. It’s more about the experience as a whole.”
And this is precisely what Greg loves about Escea’s EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen. “There’s something about the process of collecting wood, chopping it, laying out the logs and lighting it, then when the cooking is done, breaking it down to the point where you can relax with a glass of wine and enjoy life — that’s something you can’t do with an ordinary barbecue,” he says.
The beauty of flame grilling is not only about the choice of ingredients or cut of meat, but the grills and fuel type play a big part, too. The EK was designed so that when melted fat from the steak drips down onto the grill, it catches fire and gives off an aromatic smoke. Then, as the smoke floats up through the grill, it permeates the meat and locks in a rich umami flavour.
And with 13 point adjustable height grills, meat can be seared, sealed, cooked and rested within the EK simply by moving the trays and meat further away from the flames.
Wood smoke gives an earthy, smoky flavour — in fact, says Greg, “Cooking anything with a bone works really well over flames” — so his Tomahawk T-Bone steak became the debut recipe for the EK.
Of course, the EK is perfect for flame cooking all kinds of food, and even comes with an optional pizza oven accessory, which means there really is something for everyone.
As the night wears on and everyone is fed, the cooking plates slide neatly into a stainless-steel drawer and the EK transforms into a roaring outdoor fireplace to accompany you into the small hours.
The versatility to grill and chill with the same appliance is what makes this fire unique. A beautiful fusion of food and flame. To learn more about the EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen Series, including Greg’s mouth-watering Tomahawk T-bone recipe, visit the website.
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This article was originally featured in Outdoor Design #42