As a San Diego native, Alma Cocina’s lead server Terry Byrum knows a thing or two about Mexican food. His desire to keep learning and close relationships with the culinary team have equipped him with a rolodex of information to share with guests during his shifts, and he’s always open to trying new things in and out of the kitchen. Keep an eye out for Terry next time you visit Alma Cocina and learn more about him in our full Q&A below!
How long have you been with Fifth Group?
I’ve been at Alma Cocina for five years! I’m a lead server and I also train fellow teammates – I’m very passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge with others on the team.
How did your career in hospitality begin?
I was working for a building supply company as an inside sales representative and didn’t find the culture there to be a fit for my personality. It’s so crazy, I was looking for a new job and just kind of stumbled upon Alma because I love Mexican food! I first interviewed to be a host, but Jon Barkell was the general manager at the time and suggested I try out serving. I was awful at first and he still jokes about how far I’ve come! Coming across this opportunity was such a blessing for me and the role is a perfect fit. I like that I can be myself here, but still have that customer satisfaction and service-oriented mindset that’s a part of my background. I’m very passionate about food, too, so being a server at Alma Cocina has helped me uncover interests that I didn’t even know existed!
What is your favorite part about being part of the Fifth Group family?
I love the culture of this company. It’s very family oriented and I’ve met some of my best friends working here.
Who inspires you most in your career?
The chefs here at Alma Cocina. They’re very passionate about their careers and have taught me about all kinds of exotic fruits, herbs and vegetables during my time here. Executive chef Chad Clevenger and sous chef Andrew Lewis have opened my mind to a whole world of new things – kumquats, cara cara oranges, huitlacoche, you name it! Since I transitioned to veganism, they’ve really taken an interest in introducing me to new things that fit into my diet, and I could not be more thankful.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I like to travel – I just got back from an art festival in Mexico City for my birthday. I love to listen to music, browse food photos on Instagram and visit the High Museum to see all of the different exhibits they bring in.
What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
I moved here from San Diego for college and attended Clark Atlanta University. I moved back to California at first, but soon returned because I missed the city so much! I’ve lived here on and off for seven years, and the best thing about Atlanta is that it’s always changing. The population is becoming even more diverse and that’s very exciting. And I love any activity on the BeltLine!
What three adjectives best describe you?
Outgoing, friendly and hardworking
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’ve been vegan for two years now! It’s been very interesting and rewarding.
What is your favorite song right now?
Why Don’t You Love Me by Beyoncé
What’s your go-to playlist?
Cumbia pa’ la Fiesta via Apple Music – it’s upbeat and inspiring and makes me want to dance!
Favorite celebrity chef?
Tal Ronnen. He’s cooked vegan food for Oprah and Ellen Degeneres. I follow his menu and Instagram account very closely, and a visit to his restaurant, Crossroads in Los Angeles, is on my bucket list!
What is your favorite FGR dish and/or drink?
My favorite dish is the forbidden black rice at South City Kitchen Midtown! I love mushrooms and the dish includes royal trumpet mushrooms – one of my faves. The black rice and chow chow sauce are phenomenal. I’m also obsessed with the Gustave Lorentz rosé they have at South City Kitchen.
If you could invite one person, living or dead to dinner at a Fifth Group Restaurant, where would you take them and why?
I would take my granny – who lives in Michigan – to South City Kitchen because I know she loves fried chicken!