In 1997, Chef Linton Hopkins was working as saucier in New Orleans when he was diagnosed with lymphoma and came to Atlanta for treatment at Emory University. The trip to Atlanta was a success in more ways than one: Hopkins beat the cancer, met his  wife and culinary partner Gina, and soon after opened his first restaurant – the now shuttered Restaurant Eugene – in Buckhead.

Hopkins, a James Beard Award-winning chef, is now a fixture in Atlanta with his renowned eateries Holman & Finch, Hop’s Chicken, H&F Burger, forthcoming Eugene & Elizabeth’s, and online marketplace The Buttery ATL, but he hasn’t forgotten how his life was touched by his battle with cancer.

This year, Hopkins is an ambassador for The Great Bake, a virtual spin on the tried and true classic bake sale that will raise funds for The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF).  From now until the end of the year, LRF welcomes volunteers to do their own online bake sale and create their favorite treats to sell to friends, family, and colleagues – all to help eradicate lymphoma.

Bakers set up a personal fundraising page and reach out to local contacts who can make a contribution, set a pick-up or drop-off date for their treats and raise dough for LRF. And the best part? Anyone can sign up to become a baker.

Hopkins is an avid baker, so when he was approached by LRF  to be an ambassador he immediately said, “sign me up.”

“I’m kind of like Willy Wonka when it comes to baking. I love to tinker and see what happens,” Hopkins said. “You can eat your mistakes hot out of the oven. Just put a little butter on top.”

The chef’s love of breads and pastries has led him to experiment with different flours and he’s also built a relationship with millers here and abroad, including a rye flour miller in England.

While baking can be intimidating to a novice, Hopkins said that’s part of the fun of learning. Hopkins said an easy and tasty project for beginners is a Southern buttermilk yeast roll. He even provided INtown with the recipe, which you can find below.

To get more information and sign up to become a baker in The Great Bake, visit this link.

Buttermilk Yeast Rolls
Makes 12 rolls for a 10” foil pan


2 ¾ c Bread Flour (King Arthur)

½ c Water

1 ¼ Salt, diamond crystal kosher

¼ c Buttermilk, whole fat (Southern Swiss Dairy)

1 tsp Active Dry Yeast

2 tbl Butter

2 tsp sugar, granulated

1 ea egg, large

Method: (preheat oven to 350° F)

1. Begin by activating yeast with warm ½ cup water in mixing bowl.

2. After 5 minutes add the egg, and buttermilk into mixing bowl. Followed by the flour, salt, sugar and butter.

3. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes then increase speed to medium and mix for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be slightly tacky. Let the dough rest in a greased bowl in a warm spot for 1 hour.

4. Once the hour is up, cut dough evenly into 12 pieces. Round each pieces of dough tightly and place in 10” round foil pan, iron skillet or other desired pan.

5. Cover lightly with a tea towel & Proof these rolls in a warm spot until they have tripled in size.

6. Before placing rolls in oven, brush with melted butter.

7. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes.


Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.