Your dad, Ed Cook, is one of the original owners of Mike and Ed's BBQ. He says he'll hand over the family company to you soon. What have you learned over the years that has prepared you for that day?
My dad has taught me the value of being a good businessman. He told me one time, "Never burn bridges. You'll never know when you may have to cross them again." Never put work before family. Even on the bad days, make it seem like its the best when the customers come in. If you wouldn't eat it, don't serve it. Care about your product, customers, and employees, and the rest will follow.
What makes barbecue in our area so special?
We have a lot of great BBQ restaraunts in our area. Counting us, there are four within 3 or 4 miles on this street. This is what we all grew up on as kids and still can't go without it as adults, and we all have our own way of doing it. If you come to South, there's one thing on your mind, "I want some good southern BBQ." And we've got plenty.
You're from here. What's the biggest change you've seen?
The biggest change I've seen is this town is growing and growing fast. Every new business that goes up, I wish them the best, because at the end of the day, it only benefits the community if they succeed.
You have a little girl. How has that changed your life?
My whole life and outlook on life changed when Audrey was born. When I saw her for the first time, my priorities weren't important anymore, it was all about her. Everything I do, I do with her in mind. She is what drives me every single day, and I refuse to let her down. I would love to share this experience at the BBQ with her, because I can't explain what it's meant to me sharing it with my dad.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
I think the best-kept secret of the Chattahoochee Valley is this is a great place to raise a family. We have great schools, great junior college, and nearly everybody knows each other. I couldn't imagine raising my daughter anywhere else. This is home. This is where all my family grew up, and this is where I want to raise her, and watch her grow up and start a family one day.
Name: Chase Cook
Job: Manager of Mike and Eds BBQ of Phenix City
Hometown: Phenix City
Current home: Phenix City
Family: Audrey Cook, daughter
Education: Central High School
Favorite book: Bible
Favorite movie: "8 Seconds"
Favorite restaurant: Outback
Favorite quote: "Family is not an important thing, it's everything." -- Michael J. Fox
Best concert attended: Alan Jackson