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#FGRFamily Spotlight | Joey Chang

December 27, 2019

#FGRFamily Spotlight | Joey Chang

How did you get into the restaurant industry?

When I was 16, I had my first restaurant job. I started out as a line cook, dishwasher, and when I got down to Atlanta, I decided to try to be a server somewhere where I could feel like I’m myself, and I feel that way at El Taco. 

Where are you from? 

I moved from Madison, Wisconsin to Atlanta in March 2016 to be closer to my mother.

What are your hobbies outside of work? 

I’m a break dancer. When I was 18, my friends and me would go around and teach break dancing at after school programs but also to the elderly at YMCA. I’ve also picked up photography. I’ve been learning how to do product shots like Champion and other streetwear brands. I work with a lot of artists and a lot of startup brands. 

What’s your favorite part about being in the Fifth Group family? 

How caring the team is. I feel like this is a real community of people who really care about each other. It feels like family; my coworkers are cool and the people who visit are lovely. 

What’s your favorite dish at El Taco? 

I’m a vegetarian, so right now it’s the seasonal special pumpkin taco. I’m a beer buy, and our wise choice of beer is the Mexican Empire from Arches.

What was your favorite meal as a kid? 

Pepperoni pizza, basic kids stuff!

What part of town do you live in? 

East Atlanta

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I skateboard, and I’m really good at frisbee.

What’s your food-related guilty pleasure

Black bean burger with cheese with a side of french fries.

What’s your favorite city to travel to?  


Favorite musician, band or genre? 

I really like underground hip hop. 

Favorite celebrity chef you admire? 

Gordon Ramsey. He’s an honest man when it comes to the kitchen, and he’s hard working. It’s inspiring. 

What are the three adjectives that best describe you? 

Eccentric, ambitious and goofy. 

Who inspires you the most in your career? 

My dad and my family. I do a lot of what I do for my family. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them. 

If you could invite one person living or dead to dinner, who would it be where would you take them and why? 

My dad to El Taco. He would enjoy to see where his son works and where I’m living now.

The Carpenter red blend and the octopus and pork lettuce wraps.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Columbus, GA until I was about 15 and then I moved to Atlanta. I have been here ever since. 

What was your favorite childhood meal?

Some of my mom’s soul food. Her collard greens, and she made really good ribs and macaroni and cheese. 

What’s a fun fact about you? 

I’m a big time spicy person. I want to do some of those spicy challenges like the one chip challenge and the spicy noodle challenge and the habanero & California reaper peppers. I’m a glutton for that type of stuff. 

What part of town do you live in? 

College Park 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? 

I like to cook. I like to create something new. I follow a lot of blogs, and I take their recipes and create it how they envision it and then tweak it and play around with it. Alton Brown is one of my favorite chefs, and just his sheer amount of knowledge when it comes to food — how different things interact with other ingredients, why you’re doing certain things — I really admire him for that.

What’s your food related guilty pleasure?

Chocolate – anything milk chocolate. I try to stay away from it, but my sweet tooth kills me.

What’s your favorite place to visit or travel to? 

Miami. If I could, I would go there frequently. It’s such a culture switch from Atlanta. People are so engaging; it’s a lot of fun. I went three years ago and one time before that. 

Do you have a favorite musician? 

My favorite musician is Beyonce Knowles, and I say that with pride. I used to be a big alternative rock person. I used to love Johnny Craig, but currently it’s Beyonce. 

Favorite celebrity chef?

Alton Brown. Moreso for his knowledge than for his actual food. I’m really impressed by him. 

What three adjectives best describe you?

Hard working, goofy and driven. I’ve been the class clown since elementary school. If a day goes by that I don’t laugh, something’s wrong, and I bring that energy into the kitchen. It’s a hard job, constantly working long hours. If you’re not having fun you can get so worn out. If you’re having a good time with your team and you can laugh together, it makes up for the fatigue you might feel.

 Who inspires you most in your career? 

My mom. She’s one of the most hardworking, driven people I know. She used to cook in the military. She does hair now, but seeing her always holding down a job or two and taking care of four kids by herself, I would feel bad about myself if I was in a workplace being lazy, because that’s not what I was shown growing up. 

If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be, which Fifth Group restaurant would you take him/her to and why? 

I would simply love to have a conversation with the one and only Oprah Winfrey. I would want to seek life lessons from her, so I would invite Oprah Winfrey to Lure. Sit down with nice octopus and pork lettuce wraps, a nice glass of Carpenter wine and talk about life to see where I might be going wrong and how she can help me.