Now, as judge on Top Chef Canada, Janet Zuccarini will become a known media figure to the general public; up till now this prophetic, mastermind/businesswoman has ignored publicity, concentrating her talents on creating and perfecting one successful restaurant after another. Her phenomenal success begs the question “how on earth?”
Daughter of a visionary father (Giacomo Zuccarini brought the first espresso machine to Canada), she began selling in the food business at age 12. Educated in Rome, not only in business but in acquiring an inspired palette, an experience that marked the beginning of “a true love affair with food.” She set to combine her two passions – food and business – by incorporating the elements of a successful marriage – compatibility, effort, and integrity – into the creation of her restaurants. In succession, she became mother to Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101, Pai, Felix, and Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. This year marks the 21st anniversary of Trattoria Nervosa!
So she is brilliant, visionary, and eminently ambitious: The catering arm of her restaurant portfolio, Gusto 54 Catering, not only makes the bread and pasta, but is in charge of all food supplies for her restaurants, working with local farmers and moving towards use of organic produce. She knows instinctively with whom to partner (eg. working with Partisans Architecture and Design on Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen and Gusto 501; Jeff and Nuit Regular for PAI and Kiin restaurants; and with Evan Funke, partner and Executive Chef of Felix in Los Angeles). As new restaurants are launched she is already planning further expansion in Toronto and Los Angeles.
How does this globe-trotter and director of a million daily details capitalize on her energy? She is a devotee of Yoga, obsessed with tennis, does Pilates, and is a steadfast member of Yorkville’s Equinox. She also takes daily walks with Roma, her beloved toy Australian shepherd. By the way, Janet’s favorite wine is 1988 Sassicaia; her favorite beverage: espresso; espresso; espresso.
Sometimes just all the stars align: Janet’s intuition and drive are mind-blowing; she is beautiful and engaging; can boast (but doesn’t!) that she was a child star in over 40 commercials before elementary school! She has a 6th sense, a knowing, inspired sense, for how to make a restaurant come alive and prosper: It must tell a complete story – and be authentic in its every aspect.
Janet Zuccarini: We are in awe of you!
Naturally, befittingly, you named your “Parent” Company, Gusto 54, in honor of your father.
Gusto 54 Restaurant Group
Gusto 54 Catering
21 Poulett St.
75 Yorkville Ave.
101 Portland St.
Pai Northern Thai Kitchen
18 Duncan St.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
501 King St. East.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen
104 Portland St.