A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Jessica Maglione is one of Alma Cocina’s talented servers and bartenders. When she’s not working dinner service at Alma, you can catch her picking up shifts at South City Kitchen Vinings or working with our Bold Catering team on the weekend. Learn more about Jessica in today’s #FGRFamily Spotlight!
How long have you been with FGR?
I have been with Fifth Group for a year and a half. I moved here from New York, started working with Bold Catering and then applied here. In addition to working at Alma, I work with South City Kitchen Vinings and Bold as an event manager.
What is your role at Alma Cocina?
I originally started as a greeter, but now work primarily as a server and bartender.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in New Jersey, moved to a small town in Virginia for a few years and then moved to New York, where I attended the Culinary Institute of America. I lived there for five years before moving to Atlanta.
What brought you to Atlanta?
While at CIA, I attended a career fair and met Fifth Group’s Director of Operations Mark Wilson. After speaking with him at the Fifth Group booth, I came down to check out Atlanta, loved it and decided to move here. I love living here and plan to stay here for a long time!
If someone had 24 hours to spend in Atlanta, what would you recommend they do?
I love sightseeing. If you’ve never been to Atlanta and are into tourist attractions, I suggest the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s so pretty and a great spot to stroll through. Right when we moved here, I hit all of the downtown spots including the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola, which I also recommend. Other great spots to check out downtown include the Sun Dial restaurant on top of the Westin hotel for a great view of the city and the Red Phone Booth if you enjoy a craft cocktail. It’s a hidden speakeasy right around the corner from Alma.
What remains on your Atlanta bucket list?
I definitely want to try Lazy Betty. I’m a big foodie and spent a lot of my time in New York going into the city to dine at cool restaurants.
What is your go-to order at Alma?
The pork tenderloin tacos with a side of esquites. For dessert, the flourless chocolate cake hands down. If I could eat it for dinner, I would! My drink of choice depends on what I’m in the mood for. If I’m feeling bourbon, I’ll go for our “Redemption Revolution” cocktail. It’s a sweeter Old Fashioned, which is why I enjoy it. If I’m feeling a margarita, I would choose our “Amatitán” which is made with our custom tequila.
What is your favorite drink to make for guests
Probably the “Naranjarita,” our blood orange margarita.
What are you most looking forward to at Alma Buckhead?
I don’t know much about it yet, but I would love the opportunity to train people there. I train people here, so think it would be a great experience to train new staff and teach them the Fifth Group way.
What is your all-time favorite TV show?
I have a few favorite TV shows, but my all-time favorite is Blacklist.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I have a degree in baking and pastry arts. Growing up, my great grandmother did a lot of baking and passed it down to my dad. As a kid, I spent a lot of time helping him out in the kitchen making food and baking desserts. He passed along his love of baking to me and around 11 or 12 years old, I knew I wanted to go to school for baking. I ended up going to Culinary Institute of America, where I earned an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service management.
What’s your favorite thing to bake? Most complicated?
I love baking bread — baguettes, sourdough loafs, cinnamon rolls, etc. As far as the most complicated goes, I would definitely say laminated dough (i.e. croissants, danishes, pain au chocolat) is tough. There is a lot that goes into it.
What is the best thing you have ever eaten?
My most memorable meal was at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. It was amazing! We started out with charcuterie and duck confit. The service was spectacular – my drink was never empty and they were always one step ahead of me.
Describe your dream vacation.
Somewhere on a remote island or beach with a pina colada in hand, white sand and blue water. I’m a big beach person and would live on St. Simon’s Island if I didn’t live in Atlanta. I spent time there doing my externship at Sea Island Resort’s bakeshop.
What FGR restaurant do you frequent the most?
Either Ecco Midtown or La Tavola – it depends on if I’m craving Italian or Mediterranean food. At Ecco, my favorite thing to order is the fried goat cheese balls or the pappardelle. At La Tavola, I love their mushroom ragu and desserts. I could go for a cannoli right now!
What are some of the coolest events that you’ve been a part of with Bold?
I worked a big event for the Super Bowl here downtown with Meghan Trainor and a bunch of VIPs. I was definitely starstruck serving fried goat cheese to some of the attendees!
What is your favorite part about being in the FGR family?
The Fifth Group family is my family away from home. Since my family lives in Virginia and New York, it’s nice to have a group of people that make me feel so welcome here. Everyone is so sweet. They are committed to helping you do well in your job and give you the tools to do that. They want to see improvement, development and growth. I plan to be here awhile!