IULIAN FORTU

Founder and Chef-Forager

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Iulian grew up in Northern Virginia and began his career taking culinary classes as part of his high school curriculum. While working at local restaurant Trummer’s on Main on his days off, he realized that cooking was his passion. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Business Management. While a student he worked for four months at the acclaimed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark during the summer of 2015, where he acquired an in-depth knowledge of indigenous ingredients and unique methods of food preparation. Concurrent with the last four months of his culinary degree, he spent time at the Puglia Culinary Centre in southern Italy learning and preparing foods from every Italian region under the mentorship of renowned chef Odette Fada. During his time in Italy he also undertook various educational trips throughout the Mediterranean to strengthen his culinary and foraging skills and worked at Ristorante Peppe Zullo, a biodynamic farm and restaurant in the mountains of Puglia. Iulian started his own foraging company called Arcadia Venture, with a focus on wild mushrooms and plants of the Mid-Atlantic. 

GABRIEL CONCORDIA

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Gabriel’s love for travel and food has brought him to food-centric places around the world; from jungle farms in Mexico to the beaches of Tasmania. Armed with degrees in Culinary Arts and Applied Food Studies, Gabriel has worked in several restaurants. He has cooked in the kitchens of Minibar by Jose Andres and Hartwood, and worked in the dining rooms of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Pineapple and Pearls. In addition, he is a freelance food writer and occasionally teaches cooking classes. From his experience, Gabriel sees the issues of how we eat. In response, he has built relationships with other chefs, agriculturists, and food scientists to learn innovative and sustainable solutions to improve local food systems.