Kimberly Lyons, the pastry chef at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama is a talented 29-year-old. She thinks about her dishes “constantly” she told me, usually about how to improve them. She attended Culinard at Virginia College and she was hired by the Grand Hotel five and a half years ago. She worked her way up in the kitchen to head pastry chef and is grateful to the chefs there who have trained her. Kimberly is invested in her culinary career. “I love what I do,” she said.
Our group of dessert hungry guests assembled in the Lagoon Room. With the tables adorned in white table clothes, we sat engrossed as Kimberly melted chocolate, whipped cream, beat eggs until they were frothy and combined them into three tasty classic desserts, Bourbon Chocolate Mousse, Crème Brulee and Crepe Suzette.
As each dish was completed, we were treated to a tasting of the dishes. While this was not a hands-on class, the guests were encouraged to ask questions about the recipes. Kimberly took us through each step of the recipes and provided plenty of suggestions to modify the creations to everyone’s particular taste or occasion.
After class, I asked Kimberly what her favorite dessert was, she pulled up her sleeve. “Macaron’s,” she said, showing off her forearm tattoo of the French treat. She is truly invested and loves what she does.
We purchased a few house-made macarons at the Local Market before leaving the Grand for the ride home. They were definitely worth the price.
The iconic Fairhope hotel recently completed a thirty-two million dollar renovation and part of that transformation took place in the kitchen. “I could order whatever I wanted,” Kimberly said. She was thrilled that there is now a hot and cold kitchen, which means she can make every kind of dessert at any time. This is especially important to a chef in humidity prone South Alabama.
The Culinary Academy is a big draw for Saturday’s at the Grand, along with the Beverage Academy on Friday evenings. The trick is to come to the Beverage Academy on Friday night and stay over for the Saturday class. For the November 17 class, the chefs will be preparing Thanksgiving side dishes and in December, its make your own Gingerbread House. The December event is so popular that two classes are offered. It will surely be a family fun sellout! The Grand Hotel’s 2019 Culinary Academy should delight as Kimberly has the pastry classes laid out. Whether they are cooking savory or sweet, do not miss a chance to enjoy the southern charm of this historic hotel that overlooks Mobile Bay.