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Meet Buckhead Berries CEO Tisha Hopper

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Tisha Hopper (Photo credit: Buckhead Berries)

Buckhead Berries has taken the chocolate strawberry to the ultimate level of perfection. It’s not just a chocolate strawberry, it is a delicacy wrapped in luxurious chocolate, a light sweet crunch, combined with a blend of International nuts that excites the taste buds. They’re made using a recipe that has been passed down for generations.

Meet founder and owner, Tisha Hopper.

Why did you start this business?
My love of strawberries came at an early age as a little girl when my father wanted to teach me what “work” meant. He would take me to the strawberry patch and I learned how to pick strawberries in Troy, Ohio.

Throughout the years my sister and I would give our chocolate strawberries away as gifts. Over time, the desire to start making strawberries as a business increased. Buckhead Berries LLC was launched in the fall of 2012

Who was your biggest influence in the kitchen?
My [paternal] grandmother was always creating wonderful desserts in the kitchen; I grew up listening to those stories of how she always whipped up marvelous candies and special desserts. My dad and his little buddies in the neighborhood were the proud recipients of her delicious delicacies and this tradition continued on through my dad’s college years at Ohio University.

I think it has always been in my DNA/genes. I love making gourmet chocolate strawberries. It’s natural for me like breathing. It’s a God-given talent. It’s peaceful, beautiful, handmade with special care. But above all, I want my chocolate strawberries to make each customer feel that “This strawberry was uniquely handmade just for them!” and their taste buds will experience a little bit of divine bliss.

How long have you been cooking professionally?
I’ve been creating gourmet delicacies since the seventh grade. Professionally, Buckhead Berries LLC was launched in the fall of 2012.

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They are available in a blend of White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate. The Organic Hazelnuts are blanched, diced and Internationally flown from different parts of the World. The pecans are simply divine and home grown in Georgia!

Tell us a little about your educational background. How did you prepare for a path in the culinary field? Are you self-taught or do you have formal training?
I am a Spelman College Alum Class of 94, Bachelor of Arts, Music Major. My work experiences have included the following: Atlantic Records in New York; LaFace Records in Atlanta; music teacher in Los Angeles and Atlanta Public Schools, Tyler Perry Studios, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, local politics, executive assistant for District 2 Fulton County commissioner. I feel that my entire job-related experiences prepared me for the title of CEO of my own company, Buckhead Berries LLC.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy being an entrepreneur, and the freedom it allows me to explore and enhance my market productivity; it gives me an opportunity to travel and to sample and talk to other chocolatiers.

Seeing my product develop from start to finish gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

What are your favorite gadgets in the kitchen?
Various mixers.

How do you define your cuisine, i.e., style of cooking?
Buckhead Berries is a fine gourmet delicacy.

What is your signature dish or one that you enjoy cooking most?
White Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberries are most requested. They taste like a Strawberry shortcake

What are you favorite/essential ingredients to use?
French Chocolate, The rest is a secret that cannot be disclosed.

What is the best way to experience your product?
Our chocolate strawberries are made fresh to order the same day as delivery and are best enjoyed within 24 hours.

What do you like to do that is not cooking related?
I enjoy playing my piano, listening to different genres of music, taking leisure walks; I enjoy the beach, sitting in a beach chair under an umbrella listening to the ocean. I enjoy the cooking channels, I like watching Atlanta’s Real Housewives and Hair Shows…By the way my great grandmother, the late Dr. Gertrude owned and operated the first beauty school in Thomasville, Georgia, by the name LaCharme Beauty Culture School. She was the first CEO in that town and was a dear friend of the late Mr. Nathaniel Bronner. So this owning your own business thing runs deep within my family heritage. I enjoy seeing my friends who are master stylists and wardrobe stylists, celebrity makeup artists make guest appearances or friends who authored books or become motivational Speakers. It’s so inspiring and I get happy seeing their work on TV. Watching Atlantans Progress and Develop! It’s really inspiring for me to keep going!

When you travel to other countries do you see things in other cuisines that interest you?
While in Paris, my parents and I went to the Louvre and I was blown away by La Maison du Chocolat. Aside from the exquisite taste, the careful[ly] crafted chocolates gave me a deeper understanding of the “presentation.” It’s like going into SAKS Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus for chocolate. The finest dried lemon fruit dipped in chocolate.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working?
There are too many restaurants to name in Atlanta. I love homemade soul food [and] anything cooked on the grill. I have a great fondness for great steakhouses.

If you were trying to impress a date, what would you cook? Why?
I would impress him with dessert. An assortment of Buckhead Berries on beautiful vintage crystal served by candlelight atop white crisp linen.

What is the oddest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Chocolate covered bacon. It was awesome.

What are some interesting foodie discoveries you’ve made during travel?
We went to the countryside of Tivoli while visiting in Rome, Italy, we purchased the best olive oil there. I met a family that creates Strawberry Gelato, and it was the best thing I have ever eaten.

Is it challenging to be innovative? Unique?
No, I’m constantly creating new products, and I write down all of my ideas for the future … I am always thinking … even in my sleep.

What advice would you give home chefs who are inspired by your style of cookery?
Believe you are the best at what you do!
Pursue your dreams.
Never listen to negativity.
Go for it!
Have faith in a higher power.

What’s next?
Well, the ultimate dream is to open a Buckhead Berries Boutique where customers can come, relax and enjoy a light cuisine of the best gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberries in all of Atlanta … and where customers can delight in knowing they were truly pampered with a Princess Strawberry.

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

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