Tasty business offers love of all things culinary

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Those that love all things culinary might just find their Mecca right down Valleydale Road.

Birmingham Bake & Cook opened last fall offering professional and amateur cooks alike a place to spend an hour or two drooling over gadgets and cookware.

“I definitely want this to be a community shop, as well as a destination for serious cooks and bakers,” said owner Susan Green. “We have everything from the $1.50 gadget to top of the line cookware.”

Green’s not kidding about the array of items she offers. Birmingham Bake & Cook carries more than 150 lines of products from ice cream scoops to exclusive lava rock cookware.

She said she wants people to find the tools they need to make cooking easier and more enjoyable. But she also wants to help them create more exciting meals that allow them to entertain both themselves and their guests.

“I feel lucky to have such great staff here to help customers find what they are looking for,” Green said. “We all have so many interests and talents to offer.”

The shop also offers a cake pan lending library and a cookbook exchange for regular customers looking for new ideas.

“This [Birmingham Bake & Cook] seemed like a really great way to combine all of my work experience together in one store,” Green said.

Green moved from Manhattan to North Shelby last February after spending 22 years as the director of merchandising and standards for a food service company.

She’s also helped launch restaurants and products. Green began her career by attending the Culinary Institute of America.

Green said she loves sharing information with her customers especially because she feels she knows her products so well.

“There isn’t anything in this store I haven’t used either professionally or in my home kitchen,” Green said. “I wouldn’t have any credibility if I did.”

Her credibility is also growing through the company she keeps. Green invites local experts to her store for classes and demonstrations on a regular basis now.

“I have to say the demand for classes has been the biggest surprise,” Green said. “I know the culinary scene in Birmingham is pretty prominent, but I just wasn’t prepared for the interest.”

Once customers brought their desire to learn more to Green’s attention, she got to work. In February, she will host an Introduction to Wedding Cake Decorating class on Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24, from 6-7:30 p.m. each night. The class will feature Jan Moon, owner of Dreamcakes, teaching students how to assemble and ice a cake, as well as how to create beautiful details.

Then students attracted more to the savory things in life can participate in a Cooking with Fresh Herbs class Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. This class will provide information on techniques used with herbs and great recipes to go along.

Later in the month Rosemarie Kramer will teach Tea Cuisine, Chipotle’s general manager will teach Go South of the Border and Green herself will teach a class on Tagine Cooking.

For more information, visit www.bakeandcookco.com or call 980-3661.