Chef Jacob M. Stull recently announced his return to Birmingham for his new French fine dining pop-up tasting menu experience. The concept behind Rêve is one steeped in the desire to create something meaningful from his French heritage and extensive experience in the culinary space. Through Rêve, Chef Stull marries two worlds—Southern and French cuisine.

“A lot of people don’t realize the connection between Southern and French cooking.”

(Mary-Gates Allen/SoulGrown)

Stull points to the French and West African influences in many early dishes found in New Orleans, Charleston, Alabama, and Mississippi. He draws a parallel between these influences and the French influence in New England, past the border of Maine, where his family is from. Stull acknowledges that many favorite New Orleans dishes are French in origin—coq au vin, beef bourguignon, and cassoulet.

“These dishes connect the dots for people. It’s a nostalgic, emotional thing.”

Through his new pop-up, Stull will play on the concept of French peasant food while incorporating a Southern flair. He speaks to how French peasants had to draw upon their creativity to create dishes from what was found in the cellar—simple, hearty elements. They did not have the opportunity to cook with expensive ingredients and therefore had to create something satisfying with what was on hand.

“It’s easy to make higher cuts of meat taste good, but we are telling a story and giving people a connection.”

There will be a number of elements throughout each dish that will utilize methods of preparation that are ubiquitous—seen in both Southern and French cuisine. Stull offers his Cobia dish featuring truffles as a prime example. The fermentation and preservation of truffles is a culinary practice seen within both cultures across hundreds of years. The detail and story behind each element of a dish is paramount to Stull.

(Mary-Gates Allen/SoulGrown)

“We are telling a story through an orchestrated tasting menu.”

Each night will be an exciting and exceptionally well-crafted journey for diners. Stull paints a picture of what guests can expect during the course of the experience.

“We start with appetizers. The menu is really a progression and celebration of vegetables, ending with the heaviest thing. There will be a bridge from savory to sweet—a play on something classical. Instead of a traditional ratatouille, charred eggplant ice cream, onion caramel—roasted onions cooked down into caramel by a long process—and rep pepper crisp romesco…”

He explains that Rêve is an opportunity to show the impressive range of the world of cuisine. For Stull, this is an opportunity for highly creative uses of familiar elements—a carefully curated menu that extends beyond the simple formula of a high-quality protein in a flavorful sauce. Stull’s aim is to leave guests intrigued, impressed, and full.

“This is not just dining out. It is entertainment or theater. It is dinner and a show.”


Chef Stull is currently offering 8-course and 12-course tasting menu experiences.
Tickets can be purchased here and can be booked with a small deposit.

Chef Jacob Stull also offers private dining experiences. If interested, contact him