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29 May 2024 | Theme story

The charm of al fresco dining

As the new outdoor cooking season beckons, you can take the experience to a whole new level of luxury this year, with nature as the perfect backdrop for tasteful adventures and unforgettable times with friends and family. Because there’s much more to al fresco dining than the warming glow of the fire.

Kitchens have long been the heart of our homes, where the day begins, where we cook with our family and friends, and where we like to end the day. However, our culinary experience has changed in recent years, with outdoor kitchens becoming an extension of our homes. Many people have since discovered the charm of al fresco dining, the Italian term for outdoor dining. Al fresco is all about connecting with nature and enjoying seasonal flavours in a unique ambience you cannot replicate within four walls. But it also enhances the taste of the food and our sense of well-being and connection with each other. Dutch company OFYR has already capitalised on this trend with its range of wood-fired outdoor cookers.

“OFYR was specifically designed to promote connection,” founder Hans Goossens explains. “It was born from a personal desire to transform outdoor cooking from a solitary into a shared activity. The concept was first launched in the Netherlands in 2015 and is now available in 90 countries. With the help of a team of talented designers, we have created a collection of modular outdoor units that combine the art of outdoor cooking on a plancha with a wide range of accessories for grilling, pizza baking, and much more.”

OFYR’s functional design cooking units, which are made of robust outdoor materials such as corten and black-coated steel and with high-quality teak and ceramic materials, soon found their way to restaurant and hotel terraces, large events, and countless gardens worldwide. Thanks to this simple concept, amateur and professional cooks alike can easily create their own outdoor kitchen.

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Adventurous cooking

Nowadays, everyone accepts that spending time outdoors has numerous physical and mental health benefits. On the physical level, you absorb more vitamin D. Spending time outside also has mood-enhancing, anxiety-reducing and stress-relieving effects, enhancing and fulfilling our human need for connection, authenticity and the outdoors. “OFYR allows people to come together around a fire. It adds a sense of adventure to cooking. Moreover, the designs are also consistent with my quest for the perfect grill to cook for friends and family in the evening. I firmly believe in aesthetics, which is why I am proud of the timeless design because it works in any type of garden,” Hans says. “And with the latest additions to the range, OFYR has now become a complete outdoor lifestyle concept.”

What makes OFYR so unique? Its iconic shape, with a conical fire bowl perched on a plinth. A round plancha made of high-quality Dutch steel is suspended over the bowl. Its versatile shape means you can use various cooking techniques, while the shape and the warming flames make the OFYR ideally suited for year-round social gatherings. “Our wood-fired cooking units blur the line between chefs and friends, with cooking becoming a joint activity,” Hans says. “They radiate warmth within a radius of up to two metres, making them a cosy place to gather on colder days. Cooking outdoors allows you to use seasonal ingredients and give guests a taste of the story of the location and the season.” This is entirely in line with our current expectations when we visit a hotel or restaurant. For many, it’s all about the experience, with excellent service and exquisite food becoming the standard. Versatile cookers play a crucial role in this evolution, becoming the chef’s best friend and allowing everyone to create an authentic and culinary outdoor experience, stimulating guests’ senses, fuelling curiosity and creating unforgettable memories. Buon appetito!

About NOA:

NOA outdoor living is an experience park for outdoor design in Kruisem. In the theme gardens, you can find inspiration to decorate your garden. These gardens combine architecture, landscape, and interior, and welcome architects, landscape architects, designers, and contractors as well as private prospects. In this inspiration park, you will find luxurious garden furniture and designs by more than 30 high-end partners, who are happy to advise you as you bring your dream garden to life. Moreover, the park is the perfect professional networking location; the conference rooms, covered patio, spacious showroom, and plaza of NOA outdoor living are the ideal setting for your conference, product presentation, or product launch.

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