F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

A Chef's July Fourth on Cumberland Island

Linton Hopkins, an F&W Best New Chef 2009, is an Atlanta native with a brilliant ability to recast Southern classics while staying true to their essence. Here, he invites F&W to join his family for July fourth on Georgia’s idyllic Cumberland Island.
Chef Linton Hopkins
Chef Linton Hopkins creates a brilliant Southern-inspired Fourth of July menu.
© John Kernick

At home in Atlanta, Linton Hopkins is a multitasking, empire-building chef with only one speed: fast. In the past decade, he has launched two acclaimed restaurants (including his flagship, Restaurant Eugene) and a bakery, established a farmers’ market and opened a wine and spirits shop. But when Hopkins steps onto Georgia’s Cumberland Island—an 18-mile stretch with palm trees, white-sand beaches and wild horses—the iPhone goes off and the Bermuda shorts come on. “It’s pretty remote—you have to take a ferry to get there,” he says. “You go everywhere by bicycle. Gentlemen still wear jackets.” He spends mornings digging for clams on the beach with his kids, a throwback to his own childhood holidays spent prying mollusks from South Carolina’s shore.

To celebrate July Fourth, Hopkins and his wife, Gina, entertain family and friends at the Greyfield Inn, a mansion hotel run by descendants of the Carnegie family, who once owned the entire island as a private retreat. In planning the holiday feast, Hopkins had to include some of his favorite casual Southern dishes, like pulled pork dressed with his aunt Julia’s sweet, tangy barbecue sauce. “One of my earliest memories is of eating her barbecue and drinking Coca-Cola on her farm in Alabama,” he says. “Also, a meal in the South without roast pork is not really a meal.”

Southern summer recipes from chef Linton Hopkins
Friends and family enjoy some of Hopkins’s favorite Southern summer recipes.
© John Kernick

But for Hopkins—an F&W Best New Chef 2009—cooking isn’t all about nostalgia. “For me, going on vacation is about finding the food of where I am,” he says. “On Cumberland Island, I’m not eating steak. I’m eating shrimp that were caught that morning.” Using fat, shell-on local shrimp, he makes a stew dotted with baby lima beans and sausage.

Fitting for the island’s relaxed pace, Hopkins also cooks some of his most leisurely dishes, like an overnight slaw that takes an eight-hour soak in vinegar, sugar and mustard powder. And of course there’s the pork shoulder that he turns into sliders—rubbed in coffee, sugar and salt; refrigerated for at least half a day; slow-roasted for six hours; then glazed with sorghum and cider vinegar. “Why are we so obsessed with the 30-minute meal?” says Hopkins. “I want to create a TV show called The 36-Hour Meal. The best things take a little bit of time.”

Top Chef Video Video: More Fantastic Southern Dishes

Published July 2012
You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.