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If you build it, we will barbecue

A housebuilder, a live fire chef and BBQ magazine cooked up an outdoor feast at a new home in the Garden of England. Jemima Nelson reports`

 Jemima Nelson   Winter 2021

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 #JemimaNelson #Redrow




The  romas wafting through the garden of Redrow’s Canterbury house type at Monchelsea Park in Maidstone, Kent, must have tempted site workers and neighbours to hurdle fences for a feed. When you light a fire, you start a party.

BBQ magazine was asked by housebuilder Redrow to cook up a live-fire feast over three pieces of equipment – a Weber gas barbecue, a Kamado Joe charcoal grill and an Ooni pizza oven.

Redrow, a £2bn FTSE 250 business, is one of the most successful housebuilders in the country, building nearly 6,000 new homes a year across England and Wales.

Redrow has been building since 1974, but it is doubtful any of its homes have witnessed the quality of barbecue cooked up by live fire chef Julian Brown.

Billed as ‘chief fire starter and the tamer of flames’, Brown, over the years, has brought the heat to some of London’s best live-fire restaurants, supplying the finest kiln dried woods and other ethical fuels to Michelin-starred restaurants and street food vendors alike, regularly teaching and promoting the merits of efficient fire cooking practices and sustainable solid fuels.

Aside from the cooking and teaching, Brown has managed and hosted numerous fire stage activations at the likes of Taste of London, Meatopia and Ludlow Food Festival and worked with brands such as Rolls Royce and Krug Champagne.

Brown is now head chef at Kent’s trendiest new seaside joint, in Margate. LOVE café is owned by chef, TV presenter and food writer Gizzi Erskine and The Libertines front man Carl Barat.

“We’ll be curating a menu based on local produce, supporting artisan suppliers with

a strong focus on reducing waste, but delivering amazing food,” says Brown.

Talking of menus and amazing food, Brown, with Redrow filming the day for a video podcast on its website, served up a feast in the show home garden. There was a spatchcock tandoori chicken with carrot and sultana raita and a pork loin chop with apple puree, black pudding crumb and pickled blackberries. The vegetarian dish was a whole-baked butternut squash, with miso cheese and grilled radicchio and a vegan meal of whole husk-on corn with black tahini/Aleppo chilli vegan butter with quinoa, while beetroot was buried whole in the Globaltic coals and then served with goat’s cheese. The pizza oven hosted anchovy butter flatbread and both tomato and buffalo mozzarella and nduja and scamorza pizzas, with the food accompanied by BBQ Rye IPA beer.

Redrow, as a housebuilder, is always looking for new ways to inspire its buyers and potential purchasers and has captured the zeitgeist of cooking and entertaining outside and with it a sense of wellbeing and healthy living, especially in the shadow of the pandemic and a new respect for the air we breathe.



It is also about reimagining and repurposing that outdoor space – a great opportunity for housebuilders, who, more often than not, start with a blank canvas and with buyers purchasing off-plan.

Redrow runs innovative stories and podcasts on its website, looking at lifestyles, interests, insights, tips and trends to give the customer a more-rounded vision not just of the housebuilder, but the opportunities the purchase of a brand-new property can bring.

With food prepped and dishes dressed in the show home kitchen and conservatory, the BBQ shoot was a live demonstration of the ‘inside out, outside in’ ethos of modern living – dining in the ‘fifth room of the home’ with an emphasis on the option of year-round outdoor entertaining, rather than just the traditional warmer seasons and exploding myths about how Britain doesn’t embrace barbecue with the same fervour as other nations.

“We know how much our customers love to entertain friends and family and we often see examples of their barbecues and garden parties shared with us on social media. We’re delighted to partner with BBQ magazine as we look to find more ways to help our customers make the most of their outdoor space,” says James Holmear, group sales director at Redrow.

Rupert Bates, editor of BBQ magazine, said a property purchase often triggered further spending, or at least buyers imagining how they might add touches to their new home – inside and out.

“The outdoor space is increasingly a focus and its quality and potential near the top of the wishlist when moving home. There has been a huge rise in interest in creating barbecue areas and buying live-fire cooking equipment and outdoor furniture to furnish and burnish the garden,” says Bates, who also edits the leading trade magazine for UK housebuilders Show House and the new homes platform

You can watch the Redrow podcast at:

Podcast and images by creative communications agency DRPG.


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