The Great Outdoors

Three open-air kitchens bring the inside out.

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Maui outdoor kitchen
The Schatzes own hundreds of cookbooks and experiment with new recipes all the time. But there is one dish they return to again and again in their outdoor kitchen, a paella they like to call epic. They found the recipe in a cookbook, of course, one written by John Gorham of Spanish restaurant Toro Bravo in Portland, and it has now become Doug’s signature dish. Creating it can take two days: the first (indoors) for all of the prepping, the second in the kitchen by the sea, crafting (on Bubba) an opus that includes shrimp, rice, chorizo, tomato, and saffron, in a huge pan that makes enough to serve twenty. “The paella is an outdoor meal,” says Doug. “Sometimes there’s a little left over but rarely.” Jill adds her own signature creation to the festivities: two types of sangria, one red and one white.

A Dream Kitchen with All the Right Ingredients
Jill and Doug Schatz, Mākena

Jill and Doug Schatz didn’t plan to have an outdoor kitchen when they built their oceanfront Mākena home in 2004. In fact, had it not been for a faulty barbecue grill, an outdoor kitchen might never have happened. But not long after the house was completed, Doug bought a standard grill for the rear lānai and quickly realized he had a lemon on his hands. As the Schatzes hunted for a replacement, James Donald, who’d overseen the construction of the couple’s home, suggested an outdoor kitchen instead. The Schatzes love to cook and entertain so they were sold on the idea, and the results, they say, exceeded their expectations. The kitchen now occupies roughly five hundred square feet just a short distance from the lānai. To harmonize the new space with the house and its surroundings, James used natural materials like teak and lava rock, and he strategically positioned the kitchen’s working parts so they wouldn’t obstruct the ocean views.

The outdoor kitchen has nearly all of the features of an interior kitchen, including a refrigerator, icemaker, sink, wok cooker, and a hulking grill-smoker oven that Jill and Doug affectionately refer to as Bubba. There’s also plenty of prep and storage space, a gas fire pit, a teak deck, a waterfall feature, and a pond. The couple routinely hosts outdoor dinner parties and no one gets stuck inside cooking or has to traipse back and forth between the house and the grill with armfuls of ingredients. But the Schatzes use the space even if there’s no guest list or planned menu. On cool evenings after the sun drops below the horizon, they light the fire pit, settle into their chairs, and soak up the warmth of the flickering flames.

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