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Women of Influence Evening Series – Janet Zuccarini

On September 13th, 2018, we welcomed Janet Zuccarini, Owner of Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, to the podium at the Women of Influence Evening series to discuss how she masterfully expanded her empire in what is considered a notoriously cutthroat industry and has become one of our country’s most powerful female entrepreneurs.

Notable guest

Our Keynote Speaker

Meet Janet Zuccarini

Meet Janet Zuccarini

As the sole owner and visionary behind Gusto 54, Janet stands out as a woman and entrepreneur in the restaurant industry. She is the driving force and soul behind Gusto 54. In 1996, she opened Trattoria Nervosa in Toronto’s Yorkville area. In 2012, Gusto 101 launched in King West; 2014 brought PAI Northern Thai Kitchen. In 2015, Gusto 54’s Catering and Commissary Kitchen were added to the growing roster. Shop Gusto 54 online lifestyle boutique hit the market in 2016. 2017 was a year of growth and saw the expansion of the Gusto family with concepts Kiin, Same Same, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen and Los Angeles-based restaurant, Felix, which was lauded as Esquire’s “#1 Best New Restaurant in America,” LA Weekly’s “Best Restaurants in LA,” and shortlisted as a finalist for the James Beard “Best New Restaurant 2018” award. In 2018, Gusto 54 branches out with the launch of a much-anticipated food product line and the opening of its newest King East outpost, Gusto 501.

An adventurous traveller, Janet has a unique pulse on the world of restaurants and food. Today she marries that passion with her entrepreneurial spirit by curating innovative and delicious dining experiences on a global scale. In 2017, Janet was recognized as Foodservice & Hospitality’s Pinnacle Award winner for “Independent Restaurateur of the Year” and, among thousands of candidates across the country, was selected by the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards as the recipient of the “TEC Canada Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.” In addition to these accolades, she also happens to be the first woman in Canada to become an AVPN certified Pizzaiola and is featured as a Resident Judge in Top Chef Canada’s All-Stars Season 5 and Top Chef Canada Season 6.

The empire that Janet and her team have built is notable not only for the successes it has seen to date, but also for its contribution to community-building programs that actively support women in leadership, and that educate children to eat in healthy & sustainable ways. In November of 2017, Gusto 54’s charitable branch, Gusto Gives Back, launched their inaugural “Mini Chefs” program with the intention of fostering health literacy & food equality while cultivating foundational culinary skills.

Janet holds an MBA from Boston University in Rome where she lived for 8 years.

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