We had the good fortune of connecting with Dominique Hazzard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dominique, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Absolutely, my name is Dominique Hazzard aka Food Goddess ATL, and I am one of Atlanta’s many food influencers. As a Savannah, GA native, good food and good vibes have always surrounded me. When I was younger, my parents would make dinner most days and we would go out to eat a couple of times over the weekends. My parents cooked hearty, stick to your bones type meals; chicken and rice and oxtails, to name a few. We even had Fridays dedicated to seafood, whether it was fried catfish or shrimp and grits, Seafood Fridays were always a thing! Honestly, at the time, I did not appreciate food. I was your typical teenager, grabbing McDonald’s after school without a care in the world. My appreciation for food began in college when my parents were no longer available to cook for me and the cafe served only edible food, not good food. This taught me to cherish food and what it means to my culture. It’s always been a way to connect with family, friends, or strangers. Growing up in a great food environment has also helped me to expand my palate and try foods that I didn’t eat when I was younger.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In my professional life, I work as a Software Quality Engineer in the healthcare industry. I graduated from Valdosta State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and immediately jumped into the start of my career in 2012. I have always been career driven and always challenged myself to want more for myself and my career. Things have not been easy. There were times where others didn’t believe in me and my abilities to get the job done efficiently and effectively, but that NEVER stopped me. I have always been comfortable with who I am and what I am able to achieve. I went back to school to further my education while working a full-time job, which was another challenge within itself, but I didn’t give up! I earned my Master of Science degree in Health Informatics to further solidify my place in the healthcare industry.

As a food influencer, I love being able to connect people with good food and restaurants. It’s not a chore when you’re passionate about it. Yes, some days are tougher than others and you can easily get distracted by what others in your industry are doing. You have to ignore that. Keep pushing forward, keep developing content that’s true to you. There will always be someone who loves what you do.

My advice to everyone and something I had to learn myself is to be UNAPOLOGETICALLY YOU. As long as you are genuinely yourself, your tribe will find you, your talent will be noticed, and your name will be in rooms you can’t even imagine it would be in. Always shoot for the stars and do what feels right for you. When you’re in your own lane and riding your own wave, you find your purpose.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Woooow, this question is loaded lol. There are soo many great places to see and visit in Atlanta! I am all about good vibes so I would definitely center our journey around that. I would probably pick a different type of cuisine for each week day. Meatless/Vegan Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wing Wednesday, and Thirsty Thursday. Friday and Saturday would be geared toward a bar or lounge that sells food and brunch on Sunday. For Meatless/Vegan Monday, I would definitely say Slutty Vegan. Everyone should be sluttified at some point in their life and their food is delicious lol. Indoor skydiving at iFly would be a great fun activity for this day as well. For Taco Tuesday, I would take the bestie to either Little Rey Al Carbon or my favorite Gwinnett County taco spot, La Oaxaqueña Taqueria Duluth. Tacos can be eaten any day but why not indulge on Tuesday?! Atlanta is the Wing Capitol of the South so you know we have to hit up a wing spot. Lemon pepper wet with french fries and a peach drink lol. We will hit up The Wing Suite in Grayson. Thursday would be all about the drinks! A nice brewery or cocktail bar like Hop City or The James Room would be great options. These places are near/on the Beltline so there is some exploring and frolicking to be done there. Friday night would be a great night to catch a vibe at Apt4B, a hip new food lounge offering great vibes and delicious food! Saturday, Georgia Aquarium during the day and Little Trouble that evening for dinner and drinks. Sunday brunch at Ms. Icey’s or Nana’s Chicken and Waffles to round out the week. Great food, vibes, and music. This was soo hard lol!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a lot of people who contribute and pour into me on a daily basis, but I would say first and foremost, with God, all things are possible. He put the idea on my heart and I am FOREVER grateful. My family has been my support system throughout this journey. There have been times I wanted to give up, there were times where I felt like I wasn’t good enough, but they were always there to help, lend an ear, or offer some encouragement. When my sisters’ and I get together and go out to eat, they always say “did you get your pictures?” Lol it’s the little things. I am also thankful for the other food influencers I have come in contact and have worked with. It’s a great feeling being around like-minded individuals.

Last but certainly not least, I also have to give a major shoutout to my followers or should I call them my foodie community lol! It’s a great feeling having soo many people follow my food adventures in the cities I visit. I try my best to interact with them all and keep great food content in front of them. They really make all of this worth it! So if you follow me, THANK YOU!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/foodgoddessatl
Twitter: www.twitter.com/foodgoddessatl
Facebook: www.facebook.com/foodgoddessatl
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=_02XN3yATdWwfMIbsGhMuQ

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.