DFW native Manwell McLean is the go-to chef for several pro athletes playing for Dallas.
Cowboys players Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliot, and CeeDee Lamb are only a few of the superstar athletes for whom McLean, known as Chef Hoppie, cooks regularly.
McLean told Fox 4 that his love for cooking comes from his family, specifically his mom, who he says showed him that cooking can “bring family together.”
He defined his current cooking style as “old school with a young twist.”
Just 25 years old, Chef Hoppie is relatively young to be cooking at such a level and for such high-profile clients. Chef Hoppie looks forward to doing more in the cooking industry. His big goal is to one day cook for rapper Lil’ Baby.
Along with his set schedule of cooking for Cowboys players Prescott, Elliot, and Lamb, McLean cooks for Mavericks player Javale McGee when he is in town and on game days. He also cooks for Cowboys safety Malik Hooker on occasion and picks up catering jobs every once in a while.
Beloved by America’s Team, Chef Hoppie was also once a football player. It was his passion for football that first found him cooking for football players at the age of 12.
A member of Deion Sanders’ youth football team, McLean made baked goods for one of their picnics. Sanders was so impressed he invited the preteen baker to his house to bake.
The experience clearly impacted Sanders, as seven years later, he texted McLean and asked him to start cooking for him five days a week.
McLean’s nickname originated from his football playing days when he fractured his ankle before a championship game and was forced to hop around.
The chef said he is moved that members of the Cowboys consider him part of the team.
“Just even them welcoming that thought and the idea of that is just crazy to me,” he said.