Other interests called and he went to Brighton to study sculpture. After graduating, he realised, as a struggling artist doing temporary installations, that this was not going to translate into the career he had hoped for. His mother, conscious of his aptitude for cooking, encouraged him to do a stint waiting tables at the local café in Shepherd’s Bush, which was followed by a job as a chef at the newly opened Noble Rot. ‘It was the biggest leap I’d ever made in my life, going from washing dishes in a basic French gastro to cheffing in a busy restaurant with no formal training. But I learnt so much about food, more than I ever could going to a cooking school,’ says Julius.
Eventually, the 17-hour days took their toll, and a hedonistic lifestyle, powered by adrenaline, with very little sleep, wore thin. In 2017, inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage Julius packed up his London life and moved to Suffolk, to a family cottage near his grandparents, and he started from scratch, by himself.
He remembered the food producers who turned up at Noble Rot at 6am, tanned and healthy, with huge boxes of tomatoes and fish. ‘I wanted to teach people where their food comes from and to learn myself. I was never someone who was going to sit behind a desk,’ he says.
‘I bought four pigs, as they were the easiest animals to start with, and built a pig fence with some local mates. I had no money, was eating a lot of rabbit and game, foraging and hunting for my own food.’ Did he ever find it hard? ‘Yes, definitely – it was a big thing to leave London and all my mates, who were all getting jobs and earning their own money,’ he says. ‘But I just thought there was a way of making this new life work.’
His friends suggested that he start chronicling his set-up on Instagram, and so he began posting stories with his pigs. Growing vegetables was the next step, followed by the acquisition of 17 goats, ‘sold to me by this wheeler-dealer farmer’, he recalls with amusement. ‘I had no idea what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes. You’re responsible for a lot of lives and their welfare. It’s like being a parent to 30 animals, and if it’s cold and snowing and you’re in charge of a little baby that’s just been born, there are some scary things that happen.’