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Chef Hoppie’s cookbook includes recipes inspired by Cowboys stars

Manwell McLean, a.k.a. , is becoming increasingly known for his work as a personal chef to some of the best athletes in Dallas-Fort Worth area. He's been associated with the Cowboys for several years, and that connection was strengthened in the minds of many fans when he appeared on HBO's preparing meals for .

Hoppie's connection to the goes back way further than two summers ago, however. It even goes back further than the beginning of his association with . In an exclusive conversation with Chef Hoppie, he talked about his connection to America's Team and what inspired his recent projects.

One of those projects is a cookbook filled with recipes inspired by his most notable clients including , CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott to name a few. The book, “The PrimeTime of Culinary” seems like a logical next stop in McLean's career.

He didn't exactly expect to end up where he is, however. The way he become what some refer to as “an unofficial member of the Dallas Cowboys” is a story that unfolded in ways beyond what he had initially imagined for himself.


The seeds that have grown into the fruit-bearing plant that is Chef Hoppie's culinary career were planted when he was an 11-year-old member of ' youth football team called TRUTH.

Hop had developed a passion for baking and would bring his baked goods to church, to school, and to gatherings held for members of TRUTH and their parents. By age 12, he had started culinary school and turned his passion into his first business.

Deion Sanders recognized the drive of McLean and decided to cultivate it. Sanders' personal chef became somewhat of a mentor to Chef Hoppie, and Sanders kept in touch with him over the years as he embarked on other experiences that would shape his professional pursuits.

Among those experiences were his time teaching at Young Chef's Academy when he was only 16-years-old and his as a chef in when the venue was still new.


Chef Hoppie's work at AT&T Stadium was especially impactful. Not only did it teach him how to prep for that type of environment and that amount of volume, but the experience, he said, actually gave him an adrenaline boost.

He viewed himself as being in competition with other concession stands. He wanted to out-perform them. Even though a future in football wasn't in the cards for Hoppie, the culinary world was fueling his competitive drive.

Not much later, Deion Sanders asked Chef Hoppie to be his personal chef.

Hop's next client would be another Cowboys player, . Hurns posted a tweet looking for a personal chef, and Hoppie was willing to make an hour-long drive for the opportunity.

Eventually, Hoppie ended up preparing 250-piece batches of fried chicken for Cowboys positional meetings. It was former Cowboys Antoine Woods who eventually recommended Chef Hoppie to Ezekiel Elliott when Zeke was looking for a chef for his birthday.

Since then, Zeke and Hoppie have collaborated to create Hoppin' Preps, a meal delivery sevice. According to McLean, the enterprise was just one example of how Elliott has demonstrated belief in him and his vision.

When asked if other clients besides Deion Sanders and Ezekiel Elliott had supported him in such effectual ways, Hoppie mentioned that both Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and have given him “a lot of support and love.”


Chef Hoppie says he is on a mission to revolutionize the culinary arts as a sport. He says festivals, contests, and cooking shows all highlight the competitive natures of culinary professionals. Now, he wants to create between skilled chefs and brands that typically support athletes and traditional sports.

According to Hoppie, water and sports drink brands that keep chefs hydrated should be supporting culinary competitors and events. He'd even like to see sportswear companies like Nike, for example, create chef coats that can keep cooks cooler in the kitchen.

“People don't know they need something until it's presented to them,” he said. This is why he hasn't talked to other major players in the culinary world about his ideas. Their opinions wouldn't influence his desire to execute his current plans.

McLean also wants to present the culinary arts in a way that is appealing to young people. He says he wants it to be considered a primary option instead of a backup plan as it is for many.

Hoppie is definitely on his was to making this vision a reality. His suits, chains, vacation photos, and successful entourage as well as his gorgeous and supportive significant other all portray the type of lifestyle that seems to inspire kids to become rappers and athletes.


If you look at the comments section of many of Chef Hoppie's IG posts, you'll see fans and followers expressing their wishes to try some of his food. He may not be able to prepare dishes for the thousands of them, but his new cookbook, “The PrimeTime of Culinary” will allow them to get in the kitchen and try his recipes out for themselves.

The recipes in the cookbook are inspired by athletes Chef Hoppie has worked for. Unsurprising to anyone who follows him, there's an oxtail recipe inspired by CeeDee Lamb. There's also a lamb chop recipe inspired by Dak Prescott. The barbecued jackfruit flatbread recipe is inspired by JaVale McGee.

Use of the cookbook is practically incomplete without the seasonings developed by McLean himself. “Deep Sea” is a combination of flavors meant for seafood. Hoppie says that with just this seasoning and some butter, one can cook shrimp that people will “go crazy” for. Two other seasonings dubbed “Watch This” and “All Purpose, On Purpose” are available as well.

Chef Hoppie created the seasoning blends because he's been told so often that the flavor of his food is unique. He's even converted people into enjoying foods that they previously did not like. Each blend is based off of flavor combinations that he uses when he cooks for his personal clients.


The cookbook bears the same name as an upcoming documentary about the process of developing recipes and creating the cookbook. Creatives from all over the DFW area collaborated to bring these ideas to life. For some, it was their first opportunity to have their work used and published in this way.

Chef Hoppie saw no problem with giving lesser-known creators a chance to show off their skills. His career grew out of people believing in him, giving him a chance, and investing in his development. Now, he's doing that for others anytime he has the opportunity.

Chef Hoppie was asked about his response to people who don't understand his brand or who might be critical of how he portrays the culture of the culinary arts.

“I understand the skepticism. People aren't sure about new and unfamiliar things,” Chef Hoppie replied, “They don't see the need for a change to the culture, but my brand is bigger than food. So if you're looking for someone who built something from the ground up, someone who is humble but has swag and wants to uplift others. Then follow me.”

Chef Hoppie will be returning to his roots as a baker next weekend during the “WOP & Friends 4” pop-up event in Dallas. He'll have six different types of cookies available for sale. A few of the Hoppie-exclusive flavors are Hulk Smash, Caramel Apple Bacon, and Strawberry Blxst.

Jazz Monet
Jazz Monet
Sports culture analyst. Sports competition enthusiast. Host of Bitches Love Sports podcast. Personal trainer. Roller derby athlete and trainer.

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