Birmingham native Thomas Cox grew up wanting to play and coach football.
“From the time I was 5, all I ever wanted to do was coach college football. Both of my parents were in education. I went to college knowing I’d be a college football coach," he said.
After playing for UAB in college from 1998-2002, Cox continued for 10 years — first in Atlanta, then Raleigh and finally at Tennessee Tech, where he coached under his former college football coach.
Life was good, but Cox felt it was time for a change. “God called me in a different direction. I started working at a local church in Cookeville, Tennessee, handling events,” he said. Known for his clean, healthy eating, it wasn’t long before Cox was asked to create a meal plan for his boss. Word spread quickly, and soon he was creating meal plans for his boss’ friends and their friends. “This was before you could get a meal plan online in 30 seconds for free,” he laughed. The entrepreneurial fire had been lit. Three years later, he was creating meal plans for people in 26 countries.
Meal plans were followed by meal prep for busy families. The orders piled up, and Cox knew it was time to take the leap into being a full-time entrepreneur and business owner.
“I rented a 400-square-foot BBQ joint with no heat and no air in the middle of nowhere." he recalled. Next came a move to downtown Cookeville, where he operated a bustling lunch-only café.
Four years ago, Cox came back to Birmingham to work with Highlands Bible College, where he feeds 350 college students every day. He continued to grow Mealfit around his simple philosophy of eating real, whole, one-ingredient foods. “It’s boring but it works,” he said.
In working with Highlands College, Cox met Hospitality Director Alyce Head, previously a food stylist at Hoffman Media. She suggested Cox start a separate company to focus on high-end catering.
Aurrie Hicks of Hopson Rae, a marketing firm, brought the brand to fruition. “She did all my messaging, branding, marketing—she is wonderful,” said Cox.
Table and Thyme was launched in August 2019.
You’ve no doubt seen Table and Thyme’s lavish “grazing boards,” but the company also caters about 12 weddings a year. From small company parties to large weddings that have Cox frying squash blossoms on site, there is no catering project too small or too fancy.
“This is becoming a full-service hospitality company,” he noted.
And while we can’t tell you exactly what’s next, think unique, artisan foods that can be shipped around the world.
For Cox it all comes back to his why. “I love making people’s lives easier. I don’t want you worrying about a corporate event you’re hosting. I don’t want busy families stressed. In my heart, I like making lives easier," he said.