My RI Life: Meet Julian Forgue of Julian's And Pizza J
My name is Julian. I have worn many hats in my day, however, my favorite has 100 folds in it. My family took root in the Federal Hill area of Providence back in the early 1900's and as a result, it has always been dear to me. When the time came to shed my previous lives as landscaper, hand gun architect, professional paintballer, and human endurance machine, I turned to food. Reflecting on meals with my grandmother drew me back to this very same part of the city and ignited my interest in cooking. I tried to carry the love she put into the meals she prepared and reinvent that feeling in my food. I have always told all my chefs to cook as though you are cooking for your grandmother. Dining is a special moment with someone. The customer deserves it to be respected and honored.
Julian's began in 1994 with a very humble start and has grown into the leviathan it is today. It has allowed me to grow in my skills as a chef, in addition to being able to watch and partake in others growth, which is extremely rewarding. A lot of our alumni stay in touch & I have one old friend who sometimes reminds me of the time he watched me flip my first pancake. I think of that sometimes when I walk in on a Sunday brunch and witness something that is almost like a bio-dome or an ecosystem of it's own creation. I don't even know how to explain it. In these moments, I am humbled & I just hold on for the ride. It is also moments like these that make our new adventure, Pizza J, so exciting, starting from ground zero all over again and learning all the lessons again thru new eyes with new friends.
Food, Restaurants & More
We are surrounded by so many great restaurants. Each adds their own thing to this neighborhood and we appreciate that. One of my favorite places to visit is Angelo's on Atwells. It was a place my family would take me after a special event and it brings back a lot of good memories. Otherwise I like to go to Bell Street Park with my dog, Bean, maybe go out in to the wild, and once every few years, the occasional snowmobile adventure - last time my back pack caught on fire. It was crazy, a long story for another time.
What I'm Working On Right Now
I am extraordinarily passionate about both Pizza J and Julian's. These two have taken care of me over the years in a way I couldn't have even have imagined 22 years ago, because of this I try to return that love and fuel their fires as they have fueled mine.
I am very excited about vertical farming - if not directly developing it in Providence, at least aiding in it's advent here in our city, however if you want to know the thing I am truly working on right now with all my energy is finding inner peace and trying to become a better person. It's hoaky sounding, but it is the truth. It will be what allows me to live and progress. Something everyone should consider.
Photo Credits: Photos of Julian are courtesy of him. Additional photo of him at Julian's on Broadway in PVD courtesy of Richmond Jeffrey; additional photos of Pizza J and Julian's by Ashley Farney.