Chef Adrian Ignat is the founder of Taste of Truffles which is a wholesaler and retailer of truffles. After attending Sofia’s University in Bulgaria to study Sociology, he moved to the United States in 2000 under the exchange student program. Armed with a backpack, he decided to stay and pursue his dream. That dream was to become a culinary expert and create his own business.
Chef Ignat immediately started working in the restaurant industry which was his passion. There, he learned the nuances of hospitality and the culinary industry in greater detail. Having amassed over 18 years of experience, the Romanian born chef always kept his sights on the customer by ensuring an exceptional dining experience. He would take this knowledge and experience to go into business for himself. In 2015, he launched Taste of Truffles where he’s gaining notoriety in the selling of this exclusive and expensive food.
Chef Ignat sat down with Industry Rules to discuss his passion (truffle) and his career:
AF: What are truffles? What makes it so unique?
AI: Savory truffles are subterranean fungi grown in calcareous soils near the roots of broadleaved trees such as oak or hazelnut. They are considered mushrooms. French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”.
Truffles are delicate and difficult to grow. They also grow slowly, have short seasons, and don’t last long once out of the ground. Finding them is very difficult. You must use dogs (hunters) to find them underground. Commercially cultivating truffles is also extremely difficult and unreliable, so we are at the mercy of what grows naturally each year, making the crop very valuable and unique. It is TRULY rare.
AF: How did COVID19 impact you and your company?
AI: The restaurant business is been tough, some of the restaurants are closing and few are just opening now in September 15th after they been closed since March. The online store was doing better than the previous year because all of us are using e-commerce more and more. It’s been a BIG challenge for all of us.
AF: Can you let our audience know about your company, Taste of Truffles?
AI: We are a young company. Established in 2015, I started by selling fresh truffles to the restaurants in NYC and then introduced the truffle products to the US market. We feature our products at the Fulton Stall Market in New York City and launched them on Amazon in 2016 where our Black Truffle Himalayan Pink Salt is within the 4-best seller in the truffle grocery category.
We are located in New Jersey and do sell online via www.TasteOfTruffles.com.
As far as finding these amazing truffles, we are sourcing our truffles from eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Italy). We do work with small truffle associations form Spain/France and in Australia when the French winter black truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) is in season there.
AF: What separates your company from competition?
AI: Well, our products are made with winter/fall black truffle or known as Burgundy Truffle, which is more aromatic and off course more appreciated by chefs and cooks like it. Most of the truffle companies use summer truffles with less aroma. Our goal is by using better ingredients/truffles to make a better product and naturally.
AF: What other products and services does your company offer?
AI: We do offer truffle products and fresh truffles. We also source fresh mushrooms and now we are offering Caviar as a great match to truffles. Our truffle butter is best to be enjoyed with golden Osetra Caviar.
AF: What’s next for you and your company?
AI:Our goal is concentration on eCommerce research and also on developing new products. We are working with the department of Economic Development and Innovation, NJAES, Part of Master of Business and Science (MBS) Externship Program at Rutgers University of New Jersey, where I work with students on new products research and brand exposure. We are all very excited about this project.
You can follow Chef Ignat and his company via Instagram, @Taste_of_Truffles.