About Us

The patented OutdoorStirfry stoves are the creation of Dong Zhou and Michael Loth.

Dong came to Oregon from his native China in the early 90s to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He lived in a small apartment near campus, which had a tiny kitchen. Even though he had a strong passion for cooking, his school workload did not allow him much time in the kitchen. Most nights he would prepare a stir fry dish, because it was healthy and tasty, and most importantly, quick. But the smoke would overwhelm him in his small apartment.

When Dong moved to the Midwest for his first job, he continued to pursue his passion for stir frying. But this time, he decided to create a set-up in his backyard, so he did not smoke up his apartment. Stir frying requires extremely high heat at the very bottom center of the wok, which then spreads along the perimeter of the wok to create the correct heat distribution. He looked for an outdoor stir fry stove, but could not find one anywhere, So, he decided to buy a deep fry stove instead, which is traditionally used in Southern cooking, and a wok set. That experiment turned out to be a disaster. He ended up burning his hands the very first time he used it! He was then forced to wear oven mitts every time he used the stove. And the dishes turned out soggy and overcooked, because the stove did not create the correct heat distribution in the wok.

This is when Dong persuaded his friend, Michael Loth, to help him modify the stove. Michael had a machine shop in his basement. Together, they created and tried many stove designs. After months of experimenting, they came up with a design that created the correct heat distribution for stir frying, but was also safe to use. To celebrate, Dong made a complete dinner on their new stove for Michael and his family. To this day, Michael’s wife remembers it as “the best food I have had in my life”!

Dong and Michael decided to patent their new invention. But the cost to pursue the patent was high. So, they decided to manufacture and sell their newly designed stir fry stoves (outdoorstirfry.com) to pay for the patent. In 2002, Dong and Michael were issued patent number 6619280 by the US Patent Office.  outdoorstirfry.com continues our innovations based upon our customer feedback, our own experience and ideas.  outdoorstirfry.com has more patents issued since 2002.

The Outdoorstirfry stoves are the result of Dong’s and Michael’s creativity, hard work and passion for cooking. Now, you can own one of their stoves, and stir fry like the pros do!