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hanging up the aprons…

On March 4, 1933, in his inaugural speech, newly elected U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, uttered the now-famous words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”

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That was exactly 80 years and 1 day ago, today! This past week, that idea has proven to be very true for me.

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For many months now I have been afraid of letting others in on a very difficult decision that I made.

I was afraid of letting people down.
I was fearful of people’s reactions.
I was afraid of possible backlash.

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Turns out I was only afraid of fear – there was nothing to be fearful of after all!


On March 1st, I sent out an email to my entire mailing list and also posted it on the “Classes and Summer Camps” page over there on the left side, at the top, of this page.

March 1, 2013

Dear Parents and Students,

After 18 years of teaching summer classes for kids, I have made a very difficult decision – it is time for me to retire.

I have gone back and forth with this since the end of classes last summer. This decision has not come easily. It is like losing a member of my family, letting it and all of you go is difficult. I know there will be disappointed parents and kids, and that is why my heart is heavy and what has made this so hard for me. I believe it’s time for me to retire though. 

I have so enjoyed teaching your children these past 18 years. It has been my honor and my privilege to open my home kitchen to each and every one of them over the years. My own children grew up taking the classes and then eventually working for me and assisting my students in the kitchen. Your support, kindness, and patronage have meant the world to me.

That support and interest were what gave me the push I needed to start my own cooking blog over three years ago.

I will always treasure the memories made here at Les Petites Gourmettes and will continue teaching adult classes at Les Gourmettes in Phoenix. I’ll continue posting recipes, nearly daily, at LesPetitesGourmettes.com. I hope you’ll drop by and visit me there, and that the blog will continue to be a cooking resource for you for many years to come.

Best wishes and Godspeed,

Linda Hopkins


Backlash? Not at all!

Love and kindness are what my students and their parents gave back to me. So much so, that I want to share their loving words with you and give them my eternal gratitude for being so kind and understanding. I’ve sprinkled this post with a generous amount of images from these last 18 years.

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Additionally, for a very retro news video of our 3rd summer – go to the “In The News” page – over there on the top left. When you open the page, keep scrolling down until you get to a photo that is labeled “Old School”. Directly underneath that photo is a link that says Fox 10 News 1997… Check that out, it makes me smile. Such fond memories.

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And now for those wonderful emails…

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All good things must come to an end.
While I know this has not been an easy decision for you, something “inside” must be telling you it is time for a new chapter in your life.
I admire people who follow their inner voice because I believe it is led by God.
Thank YOU for giving my daughter, Kendall, the first experiences and the passion for creating art in the kitchen.
You took a passion of hers that began at a young age and nourished it in a way that I could never have done.
I am grateful to you for your vision, your patience, and your trust in the kids as you guided them through the preparation of the meals.
You will be missed but never forgotten for the lessons you taught to so many!


Kristi and Kendall Miller


Hi Linda, Thank you for all you have done for your students. We are thankful for the years that Sydney and Kelsey attended your cooking school. Sydney will have to pass along what you taught her to her little brother Jacob.

You know I will always be reading your blog so I know this really isn't goodbye.

Sharon Cereska

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Hi Linda,

We certainly understand you deserve to “retire” after your many years of sharing your talent! We feel so fortunate to have had several of our children attend your class.

Karen Preul


Good morning. Delainey is going to France with a Flagstaff school group and is earning her way by baking for anyone and everyone. In the last month, she has raised $1000 by creating pesto rolls, beautiful pies, gourmet cupcakes, savory snacks, and even dog cakes!

She believes her future is as a chef and she is interested in The Culinary Institute in NY when she finishes high school (she’s a sophomore). She really enjoyed spending time with you and I am quite sure you had a significant influence on her current choices/dreams.

Thank you very much and congratulations on your retirement!
Pam Monroe



I totally understand and am happy for you for the decision. For 18 years, you have been doing something so wonderful for the youth in the valley. What Elizabeth has learned from you will stay with her and benefit her for the rest of her life. I feel so fortunate that she had this opportunity. Thank You!

Best wishes,

Shelley Jiang



Thank you so much for being instrumental in Steven’s ongoing love of cooking! He learned a lot from you, and is even doing his senior year research project on the science of cooking! 🙂

Here is the link to his blog if you want to take a peek– www.stevenhowell2013.blogspot.com

He is having a wonderful time exploring even more cooking techniques, and I am certain his love of cooking will last a lifetime. Our stash of Les Petites Gourmettes recipes is still our “go-to” pile when we want to make something really tasty, and we have used lots of them over the years. We are so happy that Steven had the opportunity to learn from you.

I hope all is well with you, and that your “retirement” gives you some much-deserved breathing time.

Cindy Howell

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Dear Linda,

Wishing you the best in retirement. It sounds like the decision to retire has been difficult, but perhaps you will find a different way to continue to feed your love for cooking and teaching, but in a way that gives you the time and freedom you want at this point in your life.

All my best,


julianna and jared


Oh my gosh!!!! 18 years! My children have loved your classes.

Best of luck to you!!!! They have been a wonderful and enriching experience for my children.


Nine of the 10 kids from week 1 - with their creative individual pizzas

This is sad news but thanks you for teaching Kevin to try new foods and to grow in his confidence. He had such a good time in your kitchen as I am sure so many students did.

All our best, The Goddards

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Best Wishes to you Mrs. Hopkins. We are sad. Thanks for sharing your passion! Christopher learned a lot.


Christopher & Yvana Stanek

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Dear Linda,

Thank you for your help with teaching my sons in preparation for adulthood and independence. We follow your recipes, practice your teachings and often reflect back to your summer class while in conversation while cooking together.

You have been with us in our kitchen and didn’t even know it. You will continue to be in our kitchen and in our hearts as your skills are used throughout the rest of our lives. Thank you, Linda!

All of the very best to you,

Heather Fisher

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… and finally, from my darling friend and former neighbor, Lori, who moved to Chicago a couple of years ago and is now living in Japan… temporarily!

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Sweet Linda:

Okay- I may be the only one up and reading this right now since I am in Tokyo. I know you will get flooded with emails of all shapes, colors, and sizes considering the impact you have had on so many families and so many generations. Wanted to jump on that bandwagon early.

I can’t imagine how hard a decision this was for you but have truly marveled @ your ability to keep doing this year after year. Hope you are okay and this is simply your need to move in a new direction with your life- which believe me, I can totally relate to. You know I think you are a rock star, no matter what you do- so hope this is received with all of the love, adoration, and respect that you truly deserve. My only regret is that I wish I had known about these classes when we first moved into the neighborhood- I know it would have been an amazing experience for Kylie and given the skills she would take with her throughout her life. Can’t wait for the next chapter in the “Wonderful World of Linda”!

Love you,
xoxo xoxoxo

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YEAH! So, if you’re looking for validation, something to warm your heart, to make you feel worthy, and just fill you with joy and maybe bring a tear to your eye – Retire! Just make sure you have your finances in order first, of course (visit this page if you need help there), and you should be ready for a chance to relax and enjoy yourself.

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to write!

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I’ll miss you all!

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1 barbara fenzl { 03.05.13 at 9:36 AM }

What beautiful notes and comments from your devoted students and their parents! You have made such an impact on so many and, as such an awesome teacher, you will never know where your influence will end. It will be your legacy, dear friend. I’m so proud of you.

2 Marissa { 03.05.13 at 9:53 AM }

Love reading all these notes!

3 Sheila { 03.05.13 at 9:57 AM }

Bittersweet! So grateful that by way of Garrett and Grady taking your classes, our lives intersected and a friendship formed!
Mmwah! Love ya’!

4 Debbie { 03.05.13 at 11:14 AM }

Kelsey and I feel so blessed to have been able to attend your wonderful cooking lessons. Congrats on your retirement decision.
Love you,
Debbie Quenneville

5 Sloane { 03.05.13 at 12:57 PM }

Wow I didn’t even know this! You have been an inspiration to many and I know all of your students are better off in life and in the kitchen by learning from you!!! I can not believe it has been 18 years!!


6 Ty { 03.05.13 at 1:12 PM }

Awesome. But now what? You’re too young to “retire” retire!

7 Lisa { 03.05.13 at 1:47 PM }

So proud of you…for what you have done and what I know you will continue to do. You have been a blessing to so many–parents and children alike. xoxoxoxo

8 Dave { 03.05.13 at 8:03 PM }

I know what a hard decision this was. I saw how much heart and soul was poured into LPG, and I was always uplifted by all the positive stories that came from it. I was around when the idea was conceived, how much excitement Linda had for it…but would anybody come? Well, it turned out that was the least of the problems (Mostly it interfered with our summer vacations).

But I also saw the other side. During classes, I’d get up in the morning, and Linda was already working in the kitchen. I’d come home from work and she was still working in the kitchen. Every day. Seven days a week. Weekends were spent shopping and prepping. She loved it, and she hated it at the same time. But mostly she loved it. And now she hates that it has really ended.

9 Linda Hopkins { 03.06.13 at 1:20 PM }

Aw, thank you all for your super sweet and nice comments! Love you all! xoox

10 Anne { 03.08.13 at 7:17 AM }

Made me cry when I read this! The emails, the pictures, the fox10 video from 199what? Wow, Linda…I am so proud of you and all that you poured into so many young and eager lives! I admire your talents and generosity…Lord knows I love being in your kitchen!! Only good things are ahead for you my sweet friend… I love you!!

11 Have a Stellar Weekend | Good Food Allies { 03.29.13 at 8:00 AM }

[…] you believe Linda Hopkins (Les Petite Gourmettes) is hanging up her apron! Thanks for all that you’ve done (and we’re sure, continue to do) for our food […]

12 Have a Stellar Weekend | Local First Arizona News & Events { 09.13.14 at 4:12 PM }

[…] you believe Linda Hopkins (Les Petite Gourmettes) is hanging up her apron! Thanks for all that you’ve done (and we’re sure, continue to do) for our food […]

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