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Draper James founder and creative director Reese Witherspoon puts what we love most about Southern cooking quite succinctly: “I love to cook comfort food.”

That’s what kitchens should be for, after all. They should be welcoming, full of life, and, most importantly, brimming with recipes that comfort the stomach and the soul.

But besides those aforementioned things, a Southern kitchen also needs a few physical staples, whether they’re kitchen utensils, recipe books, or principal ingredients.

And there’s only one type of person who could tell us exactly what every Southern kitchen needs: a Southern chef.

A “true Atlanta boy, born and raised,” Chef Linton Hopkins, along with his wife Gina, co-founder and co-CEO of Resurgens Hospitality Group, opened flagship Restaurant Eugene in 2004.

After Restaurant Eugene, they opened Holeman and Finch Public House in 2008, followed by Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop in 2011, H&F Burger at both Ponce City Market and Turner Field, Hop’s Chicken, and soon, C. Ellet’s in new Battery Park.

To put it simply, he knows food, he knows restaurants, and he knows his way around a kitchen.

Read on to find out Chef Hopkins’ six essentials for the perfect Southern kitchen.

Chef Linton Hopkins

6 Southern Kitchen Essentials, According to Chef Linton Hopkins 

1. Cast iron skillet

This is a family heirloom which can be passed down for generations and is the first pan I reach for whenever I start to cook. It is extremely versatile.

southern kitchen essentials

Get the recipe for this Crackin’ Cornbread here. Photo by Peter Frank Edwards.

2. Sorghum

It’s almost forgotten as a sweetener, but indispensable for adding a complex, light sweetness to many of my dishes, from BBQ sauce to salad dressing.

3. Carolina Gold Rice

I grew up in a rice-eating family, and this rice from Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills is a star unto itself. Simple boiled with salt and a pat of butter is transcendent.

4. Biscuit cutter

I love round biscuits, and it also doubles up as a great crab cake mold.

southern kitchen essentials

You can find the recipe for Reese’s favorite biscuits here.

5. A copy of John Egerton’s Southern Food

It is a rich history of our foods, interwoven with who they came from and why they exist. It is a foundational treatise on the Southern Table as a welcome one. Great recipes.

6. Pimento cheese, grits, bourbon, creole seasoning, bacon, ham, ham hocks, greens

Can that count as one?

southern kitchen essentials

Don’t miss this recipe for Pimento Cheese Dip here.

Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food, and fun!  It’s everything Draper James  stands for. and I hope you like it. 

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