Birmingham, Alabama: the Magic City, the Pittsburgh of the South, the largest city in Alabama, and Home to the Time Inc. Food Studios.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a client meeting down in Birmingham, Alabama. Sure, I was excited (my first client trip!), but that feeling only escalated once we arrived at our final destination: the brand new Time Inc. Food Studios.
The Time Inc. site had only opened a few months prior to our trip and promised to be an amazing experience for foodies (and just basic food-lovers, too). These cutting-edge food studios serve as the central hub for all Time Inc. food-related recipes and photography. That’s a whole lot of recipes to produce for brands such as Southern Living, Real Simple, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, MyRecipes.com, and even more.
Our trip gave us the opportunity to not only tour the facility and hear from one of the resident chefs, but also, and most importantly, sample the food!
Located in the former Southern Progress building, the Food Studios are massive. And that makes sense since it hosts 28 test kitchens, 12 photo studios, a showcase kitchen, a video studio, a private dining room, and an outdoor grilling area. Everything is state-of-the-art and pristine. The stark white cabinets, the stainless steel appliances, the tiled backsplash, the porcelain dinnerware – I wanted it all. Take a look, it really is a beautiful sight.
One of our tour stops took us to the prop room. Since these are all accessories used for food styling, imagine Home Goods but bigger, better, and bolder. All of the aisles were organized by color and type and we were allowed to wander. I spent a solid five minutes mesmerized by a drawer of color-coordinated forks.
Other highlights of the tour included the outdoor grilling area which featured no less than six different grills (these are tested recipes, after all), a pantry so spacious I could comfortably live in it, and various tiny test kitchens that reminded me of high school Home Ec.
Our Time Inc. Food Studios trip culminated in a demonstration by Chef Robin Bashinsky. While he spoke, we noshed on assorted crostini topped with everything from radishes to white beans to traditional bruschetta. To wash it all down, we sipped on a cocktail inspired by the Scandinavian Solstice featuring muddled blackberries and apple cider vinegar – an unlikely pairing
After the final berries & honey-topped crostini were eaten, we bid the Time Inc. Food Studios farewell. This visit surpassed my expectations so much that I’m petitioning for a new tagline to be added to the city of Birmingham: Food Starts Here.