Title: Sous chef, McEwen's.
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala., moved to Memphis in the fifth grade.
Who or what was your first cooking influence? It would have to be Jeff Dunham at The Grove Grill. I took a job there as a dishwasher (at age) 20, and a position opened up on the pantry side, and I started picking up shifts and enjoying it.
What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? I would help my mom grill food as a kid.
What made you decide to become a chef, and when was that? During the time that I worked at The Grove Grill. Just working different stations and getting better and enjoying what I was doing.
What was your first food-related job? I worked at Three Little Pigs barbecue shop on Quince when I was 15.
What is the Chip Maley style? Very simple stuff. It's not too "wow." I try to just do the best I can with the ingredients that I use.
Describe a dish you created. A traditional cassoulet with a smoked coriander-dusted duck breast with a reduced Arkansas muscadine syrup.
What do you cook or bake at home, if anything? I have a very small Midtown kitchen, so it's kind of hard to cook in. I do enjoy cooking over at other people's houses. At my mom's house in Nesbit, they have a very nice kitchen, and I'll do anything from grilled pork loins -- they love it when I make big batches of chili out there.
What's your favorite food? Sushi.
What's your least favorite food? Crawfish.
McEwen's is at 120 Monroe; (901) 527-7085
-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; email@example.com