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.