Forge City Works is excited to announce the appointment of Chef Van Hurd as the new Executive Chef of Fire by Forge, bringing his culinary expertise and passion for mentorship to elevate the dining experience and expand the reach of their social enterprise initiatives.

Fire by Forge is a Pan-American inspired restaurant and catering service known for its chef-driven menus and commitment to culinary excellence. Located in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford, Fire by Forge has become a staple for those seeking a unique dining experience. The restaurant also specializes in catering, providing exceptional culinary offerings for events of all sizes.

Forge City Works, the non-profit organization that owns and operates Fire by Forge, is known for its Culinary & Customer Service Job Training Program. With over 15 years of dedication to empowering individuals through training and mentorship, Forge City Works has been a driving force in empowering people to overcome barriers to employment and help them get on a career path.

Ben Dubow, Executive Director of Forge City Works, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to have Chef Hurd join our team here at Forge City Works and our social enterprise Fire by Forge. His leadership, passion for food and hospitality, diverse experience, and professional accomplishments will help us continue to elevate our restaurant, hospitality, and most importantly our culinary job training experience.”

Fire by Forge’s General Manager, Justin Morales, added, “Van brings great energy, experience, and leadership to our kitchen. We are excited to see how he puts his unique stamp on our Pan-American inspired chef-driven menus.”

Chef Van Hurd, a seasoned culinary professional, shared his excitement about joining the team, stating, “I am thrilled to join the team at Forge City Works and Fire by Forge. The existing restaurant and catering operations share my commitment to creativity and excellence. But honestly, I am most excited to learn about and be part of the job training mission that Forge City Works has been doing for over 15 years.”

In addition to his extensive culinary background, Chef Hurd has showcased his skills on the television show Hell’s Kitchen and has left a mark in various executive chef roles, including Bourassa Catering & Events in Wallingford, CT, Corporate Executive Chef for Taino Smokehouse, and Executive Chef at Sayulita Inspired Mexican Cuisine in Glastonbury.

Furthermore, Fire by Forge will extend its offerings to The Grocery on Broad, where grab-n-go, heat-n-serve, and other prepared foods from Chef Hurd’s kitchen will be available for retail purchase.

Chef Van Hurd’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of culinarians aligns seamlessly with Forge City Works’ mission, making this collaboration a significant step toward furthering culinary excellence and social impact in Hartford, CT.

About Forge City Works: Founded in 2007 as Billings Forge Community Works, Forge City Works is a Hartford-based non-profit who operate food-based businesses to drive their mission to provide job training and food access programs to the Hartford community. More information is at