Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week – Chip Rooney

Chip Rooney is co-owner of the incredibly yummy Acme Taco (not your typical mexican) on North University  and of H’eyebrow (an eyebrow threading salon) in River Ranch and coming soon… (well, you’ll have to read his answers to find out). I probably don’t have to tell you that Chip is quite a businessman – he’s also quite a character. This is someone you should go out of your way to meet. He is one of my new favorite people – full of life and passion for doing things right, and doing the right thing.

What was your first job?
I lied at 14, said I was 16 and got a job at a place called Mike’s Hero’s, in Campbell California. My parents friends ratted me out and when my dad went down there to ‘collect me’, the owner convinced him I was good and had a knack for it! LOL, I got to keep that job prepping food until school started.

Describe a typical day in your life.
Wake up, check e-mails over coffee from my french press, shower, Drive to ACME, get thru lunch, Drive to h’eyebrow, drive back to ACME, dinner crowd, Home by 10 to see my BFF, TIVO! Bed about midnight.

What advice would you give the younger you?
Trust your gut and do what you want to do with your life, you’re smarter than you think you are. Take risks personally and professionally, they could pay off big!

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
Culinary School. My dad flew to Los Angeles about a year after I graduated from Cal Poly. He wanted to know “when I was gonna quit hanging out on the beach all day?” I was waiting tables at night in a very nice place, and really liked the restaurant business. But couldn’t even boil water at that point and knew I would need to know what went on in a kitchen if I wanted to follow that path. My wise father suggested Culinary School! So I applied to Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. I graduated at the top of my class and was hired to do R&D for a restaurant firm in Dallas. And here I am!

What values do you live by?
Work harder than everyone else and be good to people around you!

What do you most appreciate?
The values my parents taught me. Work hard, don’t hate and “you can laugh about it, or cry about it, LAUGH!”

What is your favorite journey?
Usually the one I’m currently on… I love starting new journeys in life!

Where is your favorite place to be alone?
When I travel, I always love to walk “the city” alone, late at night. On a daily basis, I love being in my car alone with the music up and the roof open!

What living figure most inspires you?
Justin Bieber! Lol, I’d definitely have to say the restauranteur, Phil Romano! He mentored me back in the 90’s, wrote one of my favorite books – that I refer to all the time called “Food For Thought” and developed some of the best restaurants in the world. The guy is as brilliant and as generous as a guy can be.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
“Anyone can ‘point out’ the problems, come to the table with a solution!”
Phil Romano
What book would you tell everyone to read?
Besides “Food For Thought” i’d have to say Bill Clintons book “My Life” even though it’s like the longest book ever… I also love the utterly disturbing “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis -creepy cool! All 3 books are in a drawer by my bed for ‘brief re-readings’.

What is the best thing about where you live?
My crazy relaxing shower w the big ass rain head and 8 massaging jets! It’s a wonder I ever get out of it.

How do you “let the good times roll” ?
Love long dinners out with close friends at interesting restaurants and filthy dirty Martini’s! But, I haven’t been here [Lafayette] long enough make those friendships, so that’s probably what I miss most about Dallas!

What did u want to be when you grew up?
As a little kid, a stewardess! [Sorry Dad]

But by 5th grade –

I really wanted to design automobiles! My dad was a car guy and before joining the “Shuttle Program” he designed for Ford. As a kid, he took me a few times to some assembly plants and I loved the whole idea of how cars were built and how they were able to constantly update and improve them each model year.

What is your motto?
“A Big Mac, is a Big Mac, is a Big Mac!” …it has to do with consistently delivering the right/same product, reaching a customers expectations!

How would you like to be remembered?
Besides for being devilishly handsome? My sense of humor.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
LMFAO, I never doubt myself. Ask someone who knows me. Eeeesh!

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
A good sense of humor, creativity and lots of great shoes…

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Growing up in a nice family where we never, ever allowed to say any bad words! So I guess my answer is – I swear too much! [Sorry Mom]

What is your favorite word?
Chabolita! OK, I made that word up, but I use [Acme Taco staff does too] it all the time. It can mean anything, like; “grab me that chabolita, it looks delicious,” or “the chabolita’s in that hotel lobby were off the chain!”

What do you collect?
I’m an art lover, so I have some collected really good [fun] pieces from all over the world on my travels. They double as keepsakes and art, so I love that!

What food could you live on for a month?
Well duh… Acme Taco! LOL, but other than that -SLURPEE’S

What would you change about yourself?
I’d like to be able to RELAX! To not worry about everything – all the time.

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
Speed Racer! Anybody that drives a car with hydraulics that can jump the bad guys, while his brother and a chimp are hiding in the trunk, is a bad ass in my book. “Go Speed Racer, Go!

Describe yourself in five words.
Funny, Driven, Serious, Creative, Perfectionist

What is your idea of happiness?
A perfect road thru the “Black Forest” on a foggy morning at triple digit speeds with a hottie in the passenger seat of a Euro-delivery Porsche! [and no cell phone!]

What is your favorite movie?
An early Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland & Brooke Shields movie called Freeway! It is a modern interpretation of “Little Red Riding Hood!” It’s dark, funny, violent and very well cast & acted!

What music defines who you are?
Again, Justin Bieber! No, but I do like pop music, [Train, Pink, Maroon 5, Pit Bull] I tend to like newer music. I’m not that guy that listens to 70’s rock in a ‘smoke’ filled room!

What do you most regret?
I regret that I do not get to live near my amazing nephews and niece, as they grow up! My family – sadly, lives [lived] all over the country and I regret that I miss out on little league games, school plays and holidays where we can all get together for family stuff.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
What my next project in Lafayette is going to be, beyond Acme Taco & h’eyebrow?

What would the answer be?
Acme Burger, {not your typical burger!} coming to ‘Oil Center’ this winter! I’m going to to for “Burgers” what we have tried to do with Mexican food at Acme Taco.