Meet the Chef: Chip Maley

Photo by Michael Donahue, MIchael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal // Buy this photo

Title: Sous chef, McEwen's.

Age: 31.

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;

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