- Age: 28
- Marina del Rey, California
- Restaurant Manager
- Restaurant Concept: Hard N Soft Tacos
Alex Terranova is obsessed with food, and so when he's not managing restaurants, he's dining in them. Terranova loves watching food shows, creating new concepts, and writing restaurant reviews for lafoodgod.com. Terranova has enjoyed a successful 12 years in the restaurant industry, working nearly every position from host to manager. His idea is Hard N Soft, a taco bar that will serve over 75 different types of tacos, tapas style. The environment will be luxury gothic with a rock 'n' roll look and feel. Hard N Soft will be known for great food, fun people, and a cool atmosphere. Currently, Terranova lives with his parents while paying half the rent for the apartment his ex resides in.
- Exit Interview:
What inspired your fast casual restaurant concept?
One of my best friends had a simple taco stand concept. He pitched me the idea as something I could open. At first I hated it. Then I just started thinking about tacos and I couldn't get the idea of endless types of tacos out of my head. Each day I would come up with a different taco, and as I wrote them down, I started to get really excited about the idea.
What was it like to make it to the Top 10 and compete on the show?
I knew I'd make the Top 10. I was psyched, but I wasn't surprised. There were a lot of terrible and unoriginal concepts in the group and far too many people who know nothing about what it's like to run or work in a restaurant. When I saw my competitors and their concepts, I knew unless I threw up on the investors' table while pitching, I had to be in the Top 10.
What moment or moments on the show were most surprising to you?
Being eliminated so early kinda blew my mind. Even though my concept isn't really fast casual, as it's much more of a bar and restaurant, it's still a 100, maybe even 1000 times better than 98% of the other concepts in the room. Some of my competitors' ideas have either been done, or are just flat-out bad ideas. Some of them didn't even have a grasp on what their idea actually was. So not making it into at least the top was pretty shocking.
I was pretty shocked when I learned Krystal and Greg don't hook up. Why not? Seems stupid, they could have been best friends, business partners and friends with benefits. I was surprised Woods and Joey made it past me, a KFC/Roscoe's concept and meatballs. Really, meatballs. I don't think ever in my life I've heard the statement "I'm craving meatballs right now." Gimme a break.
Stephenie surprised me a lot. She never had a concept. She just changed what she was doing every week to satisfy the investors. Kinda lame.
What was the best part of your experience? Has the experience changed you?
Even through it was short-lived, it was the most fun I've ever had in my life. I loved every moment of the experience. Meeting Greg, Suds and Krystal was pretty awesome as well. We will be friends for years to come.
Prior to the experience, I thought I wanted to be on and or host food and restaurant shows. Through this experience, I learned that's exactly what I was meant to do. I love the experience of talking about food on camera, being on camera and cooking on camera. It just all felt so natural to me.
Predicting who would make the Top 10 almost exactly was pretty spectacular. Then calling out Fran and Marisa to their faces that they'd be the first two to bounce was pretty awesome as well.
Did you make any lasting friendships and/or business relationships on the show? With whom?
Greg, Krystal and Suds will be friends for years to come. They are cool, smart people with great personalities. I'd love to do a food show with Suds or Sandy one day. I think the differences in who we are and where we come from combined with all we have in common would be pretty entertaining.
Do you think you should have been eliminated? Did you agree with the investors' decision?
I love my Hard 'n' Soft Taco Bar concept. I'd open it in a second if I had the funding. I think it's a no-brainer as a bar and restaurant, and with my experience and current career success, I know it would be a hit.
Which one of your competitors' restaurants would you eat at regularly?
None of them. I hate fast casual. I wanna be waited on, I don't wanna walk up to a counter and order. If it were about the food, I'd have to say Suds' Indian food rocked. That food had flavor.
What have you been doing since being on the show?
I got a job as the general manager of a small bar and restaurant in Los Angeles. I also got the opportunity to create the menu and cocktail menu. It's been a huge hit. Since we remodeled and changed over to my menu, food sales are up over 50%. People seem to like my food even if Curtis Stone didn't.
What has the experience of being on the show taught you?
To take chances. To jump at opportunities. To not be afraid to try something new or to fail. If you really believe in something to stick to your guns even if others tell you you're wrong.