We have used numerous outdoor cooking appliances over the years and like many people, in the early years when money was very tight, we went for the cheapest you could find, so probably from B&Q, made in China and costing about £12. It did the job, kept the fire off the ground, but that was about it. I seem to recall one of the legs bending and breaking fairly quickly, so that was the end of that!
But, as ever in anything you buy, for whatever purpose, there is always a truly refined design that offers something very different. The Woodee, based in Hereford, set up and run by the wonderful Louise Wright, describes itself as ‘a collaboration in craftsmanship, showcasing traditional skills of Herefordshire craftspeople. We bring together the work of a tanner, blacksmith, basket maker, joiner, agricultural engineer, upholsterer, beekeeper and glass blower’. Everything they do is based on local, British, sustainability and very high quality.
We had always felt that whilst the Woodee firepit looks so beautiful with its oakleaf vents and distinguishable ‘The Woodee’ logo, that perhaps this was just a step too far for us because after all, we just wanted to be able to sit outside around a log fire and occasionally do some cooking on wood. In 2020 my wife Lucy and I were invited to a Woodee Experience Day and this was when it all changed.
I have spent the last ten years explaining to Lucy, who not only loves cooking, but is very good at it too, that we really should buy a wood fired pizza oven to have on the patio. It would be great to experiment with something different, get some real theatre going and have fun with the children and entertaining. It would look great and we would use it lots – ‘How often do you ever eat pizzas, tell me when you last ate a pizza?’ she said. All fair questions, but I still wanted one and it wasn’t just about being able to cook a pizza, but it was a touchy topic and surprisingly caused some quite heated ‘discussions’ and that was without even lighting any kiln dried logs!!
Whilst we had an excellent day, learning the skills of cooking on wood, but also the versatility of this amazingly beautiful firepit, along with its stunningly handcrafted fireside tools, Lucy was starting to have other ideas, and be rest assured, it wasn’t to now buy a pizza oven to spend more time cooking pizzas!!
It was not long at all before the order was in and our new 600mm stainless steel Woodee firepit was delivered to our home along with some of the fireside tools and a lovely locally made oak chopping board. Outside cooking on wood is now a regular occurrence and Lucy spends much of her time exploring all the Woodee recipes and deciding what is next. Whilst I now get lots of outdoor cooked on wood food, the only downside is that I am not really allowed to cook on it. It seems the ‘my kitchen’ now includes ‘my Woodee’
3rd June 2022