Originally from Romania, Daniela Craciun, owner and founder of Amo Cucinare LLC, moved to Florida in 2008 in search of a better opportunity for herself and her kids. After nine years working as a chef in Italy, Craciun, whose cooking is inspired by Italian, Hungarian and Romanian cuisines, decided it was time to combine her entrepreneurial spirit with her love of food.
“In 2009 I opened Daniela’s Restaurant,” she said. “I owned that business for about eight years. After I got married and had a baby, I needed something that was easier to manage. With a restaurant, you’re there all the time.”
In 2017, after buying a new house that included 2.2 acres of ideal farming land, Craciun sold the restaurant and launched Amo Cucinare, a catering business that also provides pre-made heat-and-serve food items. In concert with the launch of her new business, Craciun started doing extensive research on healthy lifestyles and the food we put into our bodies. She planted trees, including the Moringa Tree, also know as the "Miracle Tree", and plants in order to grow and sell fresh organic fruits and vegetables. As Craciun shared, having a healthy diet is perhaps the most important thing we can do for ourselves.
“I'm a firm believer that food is medicine," she said. "It's the foundation of our healing. There are so many plants that can heal different illnesses and keep you healthier. If you want to make better decisions for your health, start with your dinner plate."
Craciun's business provides healthy farm-to-table catering for weddings, parties, holidays, funerals and other occasions. Her pasta, produce and popular eggplant spread are available at several locations, including Krazykrops, Vanderbilt Farmers Market and Oakes Farm. Employing a unique process called Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), Craciun is able to safely extend the shelf life of her pasta and produce without the use of potentially harmful preservatives.
Craciun, who thoroughly enjoys every aspect of her business, has been keen to take advantage of local business resources offered throughout Collier County. She's currently utilizing the Florida Culinary Accelerator @ Immokalee, a shared kitchen designed to help "foodpreneurs" launch and grow their businesses. She's also taking a marketing course through the Naples Accelerator. Her future goals include getting her own kitchen, teaching more people about the importance of eating healthy and making her food items available through her website.
What advice does Craciun have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "If you have a dream and you believe in it, just go for it," she said. "Also, it's important to have patience and money on the side as you grow your business. If you work hard, believe in what you do and love what you do, everything will come together."
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