Australian Designed Wood Fire OvenBy Chad Tyler
We may as well leak the news that our 2013 summer guests are in for a nice culinary surprise when they return next summer. The work has begun and there is no turning back at this point, even though we had our first frost of the season.
We could tell Quintin had something up his sleeve at the end of the season purchase meetings and then lo' and behold what happens to turn up on a truck a few weeks after we close but the reason for his beguiling demeanor... a beautiful Australian designed wood fired oven! A very HEAVY oven! We had to enlist the help of Bob Beaulieu our neighbor down the road and his large tractor just to lift it off the truck!
You will notice that I called this beauty a "wood fired oven" NOT a "pizza oven". Chef Dave wants us all to know that he has meals planned far beyond simple pizzas for this new outdoor oven. The proximity to the Inn makes a variety of dishes and activities possible for our guests. Cooking demonstrations, tastings, freshly cooked cocktail appetizers, bread, roasts and yes the occasional pizza. Add the traditional dishes we can cook on the grill that will sit nearby and we may actually have a hard time getting Dave to come back to the kitchen at all!
We have found the perfect location (view photo slideshow) just below the Inn for the oven and what I enjoy most about designing this project is the fact that my family has been grilling in the exact same location for the last seven decades! There is a very good chance that a grill or fire pit even sat there during the camping days of the late 1800's as well. I found a number of old photographs showing guests enjoying a freshly cooked meal there, but I love this one showing one of our family reunions at the site (click here to enlarge the photo above). You can see Grandfather, Mrs. T, Pixley and even try to spot Ted as they take advantage of the old grill that sat there in the mid 1940s. We were amazed to find the remains of this grill still there when we began excavating the site.
The other enjoyable part of this sort of project is the collaboration. Quint found the oven and I'll design its installation with a lot of help from Nature Dave's younger brother John and plenty of practical advice from Dave and Jeff in the kitchen. John is an artist with an excavator and you can see a fine example of his stone work in the wall he rebuilt in front of the Farmhouse two years ago. We have no choice but to design as we go so the input and ideas are endless. From the start however we all wanted the oven to fit into the landscape so we sourced the stone to build it all right here on the property (that low water was well timed!). If all goes well we will recreate a place out on the property where our family and our guests can enjoy the pleasures of a freshly made meal for oh...the next century or so.