Meet the 25-year-old chef who cooks for DFW's best athletes

Several pro athletes including Dallas Cowboys players like Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott and CeeDee Lamb seek out the home cooking of Manwell McLean, a man better known Chef Hoppie.

"I always like to say any of the recipes I cook are old school with a young twist," he said.

Hoppie says his love of food came from family.

"I think I would say it stemmed from my mom and realizing the opportunity that food could bring, not even monetary-wise, but bringing family together. Seeing smiles through the flavor of the food." he said. "I know how it made me feel, so why not try to bring that feeling to everybody."

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Consider Chef Hoppie an unofficial member of the Dallas Cowboys.

"It means the world because no other chef is doing what I'm doing, at the level that I'm doing it at, at the age I'm doing it at," he said.

At just 25, Chef Hoppie cooks for your favorite players along with other pro athletes in DFW.

"My schedule is all over the place. I have Dak Monday through Wednesday, CeeDee Monday through Friday, Javale McGee on the days that the Mavs are here in town and on gamedays, Zeke of course, Malik Hooker whenever he contacts me and then catering different little jobs like that as well," he said.

Hoppie says football was his first passion, but when he stopped growing he had to change his focus.

Funny enough, it was through football that his prime opportunity came with his other passion, because of Mr. Prime himself Deion Sanders.

"I'll text him all the time and just tell him thank you for everything," Hoppie said.

Hoppie played for Deion's youth football team, Truth. After he wowed everyone with his baked goods at a team picnic one day, Hoppie got the invite to Sanders' house to make desserts. 

He was 12 at the time.

Fast-forward to a text he got 7 years later.

"Whenever I was about 19 I get a text one night, and it was like ‘Chef, I want you to come on five days a week.’ I was like alright cool," Hoppie remembered. "Whenever he texted me it was kind of a breaking point for me. So I'll always remember that moment like it was yesterday."

Hoppie says during the season he gets a lot of requests for his smoked salmon, smoked chicken and ground turkey.

"Everyone always asks what's my specialty, and I tell them I don't have a specialty. Everything is special to me," he said.

As for the nickname Chef Hoppie, that goes back to his football playing days.

"It was Hoppie whenever I played for Truth. We were getting ready for a national championship game, and I had fractured my ankle, and they said it looked like I was hopping," he said. "So that's where Hoppie came in and whenever they found out I was a chef and cooked and things of that nature, that's when Chef Hoppie started coming in to play."

While Chef Hoppie doesn't get to go on the field, members of the Cowboys consider him a part of the team.

"Just even them welcoming that thought and the idea of that is just crazy to me," he said through a smile.

Hoppie has plans to do more, he says his dream is to cook for rapper Lil Baby.