About Us

Tour de Forks is a boutique culinary travel company whose philosophy focuses on discovering a destination, its history and culture through its cuisine. The travel is experiential and adheres to the principles of the Slow Food movement; travelers engage with artisans, chefs, producers and observe time-honored traditions.


Melissa Joachim founded Tour de Forks in 2003, and was born in Melbourne, Australia. Melissa's love for food and travel ignited when she traveled the world for three years, studying and living in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This passion grew and inspired the creation of Tour de Forks. Now a resident of New York City for over twenty years, Melissa has worked as a designer and art director for Newsweek, ABCNews, and Disney. Melissa is a Bon Appetit Travel Advisory Board Member, a member of Slow Food, and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).
Lisa Goldman is a co-founder and loves to travel and eat. This enthusiasm has found a home in Tour de Forks. Lisa works on the marketing, advertising, and sales end of Tour de Forks. Lisa received her Masters in Education at Columbia University. Prior to Tour de Forks, Lisa has worked as a freelance copywriter for American Express. Lisa also writes for children's television. Lisa is a Bon Appetit Travel Advisory Board Member and a member of Slow Food.
Giuseppe Ricotta joined Tour de Forks in 2004 to expand business to Italy. He was born in Palermo, Sicily. From the day he was born, food was central to Giuseppe's life and he grew up surrounded by fabulous family cooks and eating organic produce. Before Tour de Forks, Giuseppe received an M.B.A from Fordham University in New York City and works as a business manager with extensive international experience.


Kathy Morton, is a Certified France Destination Specialist who is passionate about all aspects of travel - especially creating unique experiences in France. She loves making a connection to local people and culture by sharing in the pleasures of food and wine. Seeing where products come from, meeting people who care so much about their land and farming and tasting products right from their source is the best way to travel anywhere. Authentic local experiences bring destinations to life! Her travel experience includes lots of vineyard visits and wine tastings and participation in various cooking courses throughout France, from the Cordon Bleu and Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris to small local farms in the countryside... with famous restaurant chefs and home-based chefs. She works closely with local guides and Offices of Tourism throughout France. Kathy is a co-recipient of the Culinary Trust's Julia Child Endowment Fund Scholarship for travel in France.
Debra Fioritto, is a winner of the Culinary Trust's Julia Child Endowment Fund Scholarship and specializes in travel and tours to France's 71 government-designated gastronomic taste monuments, "The Sites of Exceptional Culinary Taste" (Les Sites Remarquables du Gout). Debra teaches French at the University of Indiana South Bend. She is an expert in the history, legend and lore of French Cuisine. She has eaten her way through most of the regions of France and is always in search of the perfect mariage of two food products. Debra has a degree in French and International Relations and has traveled and lived throughout Europe. Debra is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


Michele Scicolone is a cookbook author and writer who specializes in food, wine and travel. Michele's articles have appeared in Bon Appetit, The Wine Spectator, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wine Spectator, The New York Times, Gourmet, Food Arts, and many other publications. Michele has been a spokesperson for Williams Sonoma and the Italian Trade Commission and has lectured on Italian culture and cuisine at The Smithsonian Institute, Hofstra, and Henderson State Universities.
Marieke Brugman, co-founded Howqua Dale, the most renowned gourmet retreat in Australia, but now devotes herself to escorting small culinary tours around the world. Marieke was named one of the "Top 10 Culinary Guides" in the Wall Street Journal. A highly regarded chef and teacher, talented presenter and passionate educator in her own right, Marieke has developed an intimate and compelling relationship with India and has befriended many stunning cooks and amassed a portfolio of treasured recipes that reflect the traditions of private estates to the skills of professional chefs, from the rustic to the grandly noble. There could be no more unique an opportunity to understand the connection between culture and cuisine in this astounding country.
Deborah Johnson, is a specialist in French cuisine. She has lived in France for almost two decades, has a French language degree and has studied wine and cuisine at the famous Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris where she was also the translator/interpreter for the Cordon Bleu's top chefs. Deborah began her culinary career as a luxury Caribbean sailboat chef over 30 years ago. She travels extensively throughout Europe, the Caribbean and North Africa and is a Gourmet Tour Guide. Today, Deborah splits her time between Atlanta and Paris and enjoys sharing her passion for French Gastronomy.