In today’s fine homes, a gorgeous yet functional kitchen is often the crown jewel of the property. Industrial-grade kitchen appliances costing tens of thousands of dollars help hosts churn out professional-quality food for everything from holiday banquets to party appetizers. But, in Atlanta, summer evenings beckon the city’s top home hosts and hostesses outdoors. What’s an entertainer extraordinaire to do when he or she plans to entertain alfresco?
The answer may be in a metal shop in Atlanta’s West End, where Chris Demant puts his name on some of America’s most impressive grills. His company, Grills by Demant, builds stainless-steel hearth-style grills from scratch. Originally from Denmark, Demant brings the training of his Danish metalworking apprenticeship, experience and a healthy dose of creativity to his grill designs. Important people have noticed: Chef Sean Brock has a Grill by Demant in several of his previous restaurants, as well as his own backyard.
“It’s a modular system, so it’s customizable for each client,” says Demant. In addition to configurations that use different grill types or factor in ovens and smokers, the company can add custom finishes to the stainless steel. While his grills do look imposing and industrial, Demant’s deep knowledge of his material allows him to match his grills to any kind of decor. “I want to make each grill unique,” he says.
Demant’s highly engineered grills allow for a variety of cooking possibilities. With an optional burn box attached to the back of the modular grilling system, wood burns in a vertical chamber. The signature crossbar about 3 feet above the hearth surface allows for asada-style barbecuing, with meat or produce hanging inches from live wood fire. As the wood burns, embers drop through the grate of the burn box, which can be used for more traditional grilling over the hearth. An ingenious geared lever and chain system adjusts the height of the grill quickly, unlike the traditional wheel and wire mechanisms seen on old-fashioned grills. For a faster start, you could even use lump hardwood charcoal in lieu of firewood in the burn box.
Just like professional-grade kitchen appliances, Grills by Demant are durable, high-quality pieces. A 36-inch model fully outfitted with accessories costs about $12,000, though that can easily increase as it is further customized. Demand is high: Grills by Demant has grown quickly in its two years of existence, but there’s still a backlog as orders come in from restaurants and private clients around the country. Of course, discerning homeowners with a passion for wood-fired cooking will know: Good things are worth the wait.