The Birmingham restaurant scene has been hot for more than 30 years and has only been getting hotter. On any given night, you can go out for a plate of boudin rouge, a steaming bowl of phô, or house-made salumi. But James Beard Award-winning chefs aren’t the only ones creating these dishes. With the array of class offerings at the Cooking School at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook, the next swoon-worthy handmade pasta dish could be your own.
Taught by a team of culinary professionals, cooking classes are as varied as the guests who enroll. The grocery shopping is taken care of, the mise en place is complete and clean-up duty falls to someone else. So grab your friends and finally learn to master seafood, tell your boss you’ll handle the next team-building event over an evening of making the perfect paella, or meet your culinary mate at a Mix and Match for Singles event. Classes range in difficulty and are designed to delight every participant, regardless of skill level.
Every cooking class ends with an elegant meal accompanied by a glass or two of perfectly paired wine. Speaking of vino, wine-blending classes are offered at the hotel as well. Sommelier and class instructor Demián Camacho Santa Ana brings his expertise in all things quaffable to guide participants through the nuances of varietals and blending. Demián and fellow wine-blending expert, Alex Floyd, usher guests through tasting a series of wine varieties, learning what makes each unique. At each place setting, you will find beakers and pipettes, perfect for crafting your exclusive vintage. Alex notes, “We have a green screen where you can take a picture, or send in a picture, and we’ll make a private label for your bottle. A recent guest used a photo of Miley Cyrus and donned hers ‘Wrecking Ball Red.’ You can even cork and foil the bottle yourself.” Cases can be produced to give to family and friends or fill your own personal wine cellar.
Alex adds, “We’ve got a lot of new and upcoming things. We are looking at doing some mixology classes as well. Demián has an incredible background in that area. We’ll also be adding wine seminars and exclusive wine dinners.”
Classes change seasonally and booking is as easy as going online and clicking ‘RESERVE’; the hardest part might be deciding who to share that rosé and ravioli with…
GRAND BOHEMIAN STAYCATION
Why let your visiting in-laws have all the fun? There is more to enjoy at the Grand Bohemian than just great food. Take advantage of this one-stop spot and book a room for a weekend retreat or mid-week get away.
The Poseidon Spa is an oasis unto itself. Reserve the couples massage room which features a large soaking tub. Indulge in a silk-polish exfoliation with a green-tea face and body masque. Unwind with a facial and a gel manicure before dinner. The spa offers discounted membership packages for locals to make your visit even more enticing.
A passion for art runs throughout the Kessler family and can be seen in each of their signature hotels. Just step into the lobby (or the hallways, restaurants, and spa) and you will be amazed by the curated collection within. Almost every painting on property is available for purchase. Be sure to stop in to the Grand Bohemian Gallery for an extended sampling of work and a guided tour with the gallery director.
And if you don’t want to take a cooking class, sit back and enjoy table service. Make a reservation at Habitat Feed & Social. The restaurant features seasonal, regionally-influenced cuisine for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, and the chic rooftop restaurant (complete with entertainment and an outdoor fireplace) is the perfect place to gather with friends and family.
For more information on the Grand Bohemian or the cooking and wine blending classes, grandbohemianmountainbrook.com.
Text by christiana roussel • Photography by Art meripol