Excitement building? This is quite the understatement. Then too, you’d have to understand the passion owners Kathi and Jim of Hilton Head have for fine food and entertaining. Just to set the stage, we’ve had the pleasure of joining Kathi and Jim for several dinners enjoying some fabulous flavors. Most recently we enjoyed a fine meal prepared by Kathi who is a chef and lifelong student of the culinary world. “Food is my life”, Kathi has said several times.
As guests in their home we enjoyed many savory flavors. To name a few- on a wonderful antipasti platter Kathi and Jim shared an incredible Auribella cheese they’ve been chipping away at for over two decades. Down to the last few wedges we knew this was not dipped into often. We also enjoyed some fabulous Georgia shrimp in a saffron butter with melting sweet onions and Fennel served over a creamy polenta. The conversation centered around not only our delicious meal, but a spirited anticipation was busting at the seams regarding the outdoor oven project progress in the yard! Several months ago we had the pleasure of getting to know Kathi and Jim over a fine dinner at Cucina 24 in Asheville. This was our earliest indicator that wood-fired Italian cooking was seriously appreciated by Kathi and Jim. We also enjoyed another fine meal at Pour Richards– which opened just a couple of months ago in the Bluffton area on Hilton Head. Kathi worked for years with owner Richard Canestrari, Ally Rogers, and several others now dedicated to the restaurant. The atmosphere was immediately welcoming. The wood-fired oven (our common inspiration) was in view of our table and with high praises we will certainly be back when in the area again.
All this leads to the images of what’s being built in their own yard brick by brick, arches hand crafted, and details carefully considered.
They’ve put more than “a little piece of them selves” into this project, they’re putting their heart and soul into a dream they’ve had for a very long time.
Not seen in the layout is what’s behind the bricks temporarily blocking the entrance of the oven-a space heater placed inside to achieve a head start in the curing process. They’ll soon begin burning wood fires increasing them in size to complete the curing process.
It has been such a pleasure to meet Kathi and Jim and to share their excitement throughout this project. Kathi said Jim may never come inside, but I have a feeling neither of them will.
Stay tuned for phase 3!
It’s no small project! It is, in fact,more than a project, it’s a vision and a passion of Hilton Head couple- Kathi and Jim. (What were the odds of Cathy and Jim working with Kathi and Jim?) Last Fall, with plans in hand and a dream in the making for some time, Kathi and Jim made a trip to Asheville to personally meet us and make plans for an outdoor entertainment cooking area. We’ve appreciated their confidence and with a few good cups of coffee, the conversation quickly became lively. Instantly, we knew this project was not thought up on a whim. It was clear this was a project they had been planning carefully. What also became clear is Kathi’s absolute love of the culinary world.
Still getting to know Jim, I expect he’ll be a master of wood-cooking right along with Kathi.Two generous individuals from Chicago, they know their priorities, and have a sense of humor that may be coined ‘Chicago charm’ in Hilton Head if I may.
They are a lot of fun and from my understanding the golfers passing by are taking notice of the progression of their project.
This series of photos will be the first of several.
They selected the Artigiano 120 brick oven which is gorgeous- a true work of art. For kicking back with a glass of wine and the evening sunsets they included the Calore2G105 modular outdoor fireplace kit which assembles within a day and can be finished as desired.
Jim’s masonry skills are evident as he works carefully and is enjoying the installation of the detail brick that Kathi and Jim planned into their project.
Their attention to detail is giving this design character and integrity. I love the special order brick selected, the water table brick detail, the herringbone pattern placed within the modular fireplace, and there’s more details to come in the next entry! At each end of the arched wall will be low walls at bench height creating a nice visual drop to the taller walls as well. With some team effort the beautiful Artigiano brick dome was placed on it’s floor.
Stay tuned for how this wall will progress northward with curves, beautiful chimney caps, counters, and at some point glowing embers.
Choosing to develop an outdoor wood-fired oven entertainment area requires careful planning. Nilgun and Ray from Charlotte, NC who have a love for cooking and architecture carefully considered their entire layout for something they’ve put their heart into for their own back yard. In November, after further conversations and consultation, professional mason Jim Erskine, and Tom Silver traveled from Asheville to Nilgun and Ray’s home in Charlotte with mixer in tow and the necessary tools. With warm greetings they then proceeded to build the outdoor kitchen structure and assemble the Artigiano Oven. Here is a slide show series of photos that shows the project from the slab up. Still to come will be the installation of an additional grill, counter surfaces, a pergola, landscaping and the best part- enjoying every bit of it. The Artigiano oven is absolutely beautiful. The brick dome is handcrafted and arrives as one pre-assembled piece. We hope to share more images as the project wraps up and share the joy that fine meals and gathering of friends brings from wood-fired cooking. Many thanks to Nilgun and Ray!