Janet Zuccarini – Biography, Career, Bussiness, Family & Net Worth

Janet Zuccarini is a well-known name in the hospitality industry, as she is the founder and CEO of Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, which boasts several highly acclaimed restaurants in both Toronto and Los Angeles.

Her reputation for top-notch dining experiences has grown more robust thanks to her knowledge and expertise. Even more impressively, Zuccarini is also a Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada judge.

She lends her years of culinary knowledge and skill to help aspiring chefs hone their craft. And not one to rest on her laurels, she is also the partner of the legendary musician and songwriter Robbie Robertson, a member of The Band.

Zuccarini has carved out an impressive niche for herself in food and entertainment.

Janet Zuccarini Wiki/BIO

NameJanet Zuccarini
Birth DateB/W 48-52 years old (as of 2023)
Birth PlaceToronto, Canada
PartnerRobbie Robertson
ProfessionEntrepreneur, Restaurateur, Top Chef Canada Judge
EducationBoston University
Net Worth$15-18 million (approx.)

Early Life

The Zuccarini family played an integral role in bringing the beloved tradition of espresso to Canada back in 1954. Giacomo Zuccarini, the family’s father, was an espresso machine importer who tirelessly worked to make this specialty drink accessible to Canadians.

Not only that, but he also opened up the popular Sidewalk Caffè restaurant in Toronto. However, the family’s joy was tragically short-lived, as the restaurant was forced to close due to the actions of a dishonest business partner.

Despite this setback, the family never lost their passion for cooking and sharing their Italian heritage. Giacomo’s wife, who learned to cook from her father-in-law, was known for creating homemade pasta and tomato sauce that people couldn’t get enough of.

Despite their challenges, the Zuccarini family’s love for good food and espresso never wavered.


Janet is a go-getter who wanted to further her education beyond high school. Her passion for exploring new cultures drove her to Italy, where she pursued her undergraduate degree and MBA at Boston University in Rome.

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Janet not only gained a top-notch education, but she also found a love for Italian cuisine. She spent countless hours perfecting her grandmother’s recipes and mastering cooking techniques.

With her love for food and entrepreneurial spirit, Janet dreamt of opening her restaurant one day. During her time in Italy, he provided her with an education and a rich cultural experience that she carries today.


After returning to Toronto in 1996, Janet boldly decided to open her restaurant in the Yorkville neighborhood. Despite advice from her father to avoid the restaurant business, she pursued her passion and debuted Cafe Nervosa, which later became known as Trattoria Nervosa.

Not only did it become a success with locals, but it also became a celebrity hotspot. This decision may have caused a temporary rift between Janet and her father, but in the end, he became proud of her accomplishments.

Janet’s determination and drive made her restaurant a true reflection of her character, proving that sometimes the most significant successes come from taking risks. Janet’s passion for food and dedication to culinary excellence have resulted in an impressive restaurant empire with Gusto 54 Restaurant Group.

She now boasts an impressive portfolio of seven Toronto-based concepts, each showcasing unique, delicious cuisines. Additionally, Janet expanded her reach to the Los Angeles market with Felix Trattoria, where chef Evan Funke serves handmade pasta and authentic regional Italian dishes.

The restaurant has quickly gained an excellent reputation, receiving rave reviews and awards from renowned organizations like Esquire Magazine, Eater LA, and the James Beard Foundation. Janet’s commitment to quality and innovation is evident in her ventures, making her a true leader in the culinary world.

Net Worth

Her net worth remains a mystery to the public, but many speculate that her success in the restaurant industry has accrued her substantial wealth. Her vast achievements include co-founding Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, which has grown to a successful chain of restaurants worth millions of dollars.

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Consequently, there are suggestions that her net worth falls within the $15-18 million range. Despite the lack of official confirmation, one can only imagine the wealth her outstanding endeavors have brought her.


As a judge on Top Chef Canada since season five, she has quickly made a name for herself amongst foodies across the country. Her expertise and experience as a restaurateur and food lover make her critiques stand out.

Whether evaluating a contestant’s dish or challenging them to excel, she always delivers her critiques with precision and passion. What’s more, her knowledge of the industry makes her a formidable force on the show.

So, it’s no surprise that viewers tune in week after week to hear her thoughts on the latest culinary creations. Janet has made a name for herself in the food industry through her exceptional leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Her achievements have not gone unnoticed, as she has received multiple prestigious awards.

In 2017, Janet won the Foodservice & Hospitality’s Pinnacle Award for “Independent Restaurateur of the Year,” recognizing her outstanding contribution to the industry. She further cemented her reputation as an excellent entrepreneur, receiving the “TEC Canada Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship” from the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.

Janet’s hard work and dedication have also been recognized by the American Express Business Leadership Award for 2020, making her the recipient of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list. Janet has inspired many aspiring entrepreneurs in the industry through her impressive portfolio of accomplishments.

Parents & Siblings

Her family history is deeply rooted in the world of coffee and cuisine. Her father, Giacomo Zuccarini, was an Italian immigrant who brought the first espresso machine to Canada in 1954. His passion for coffee and hospitality led him to open Sidewalk Caffe.

A beloved Toronto restaurant that quickly became a local hotspot. Unfortunately, his dreams were crushed when his dishonest business partner shut down the establishment. Giacomo’s legacy, however, lives on through his daughter Janet.

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Who has become a renowned restaurateur and entrepreneur in her own right? The Zuccarini family’s commitment to excellent coffee and hospitality is a true family tradition. This was the case with the mother of a particular family, whose German roots collided with her father-in-law’s flair for Italian cuisine.

While she may not have grown up with traditional Italian recipes, her passion for cooking and learning from those around her made her known for her homemade pasta and tomato sauce.

She combined her German precision with her father-in-law’s love for spontaneity to create a unique twist on classic Italian dishes. Her culinary creations were a testament to the beauty and richness of cultural exchange.


  • Janet is the single proprietor and creative force behind the Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, which serves one million patrons yearly at various eateries.
  • As a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada, Zuccarini assesses the competitors’ meals and gives them constructive criticism.
  • In 1996, Janet Zuccarini launched Café Nervosa, her first eatery, in Toronto’s Yorkville district.
  • Subsequently renamed Trattoria Nervosa, the eatery became a celebrity favorite.
  • Seven Toronto-based culinary concepts Gusto 101, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Gusto 54 Catering, Gusto 54 Commissary Kitchen, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Kiin, and Azhar—helped Zuccarini grow her restaurant empire.


How old is Janet Zuccarini?

Although Zuccarini’s precise age is unknown, estimates place her around 48 to 52 years old.

How many restaurants does Janet Zuccarini own?

Under the Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, Zuccarini owns and runs eight restaurants: Felix Trattoria in Los Angeles; Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Gusto 54 Catering, Gusto 54 Commissary Kitchen, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Kiin, and Azhar in Toronto.

How did Janet Zuccarini meet Robbie Robertson?

Felix, the acclaimed restaurant on Queen Street West, is where acclaimed chef and restaurateur Ivana Zuccarini met her now business partner and co-owner, Shane Robertson. This idyllic union took place in 2017 at a birthday party thrown for Diane Bald, the wife of Roots co-founder Michael Budman.

Felix remains Zuccarini’s proudest achievement, and rightfully so. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews for its impeccable menu, attentive service, and cozy ambiance. For foodies and culinary enthusiasts, a trip to Felix is a must-try experience showcasing the best Italian flavors.

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