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, which in 2019 was recognized as a Deloitte Best Managed Company. 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. 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 2019, Gusto 54 branches out with the launch of a much-anticipated opening of its newest King East outpost, Gusto 501 as well as Gusto Green in Los Angeles’ Jewelry District, and Azhar on Toronto’s Ossington Strip.
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 2019, Janet received the “ICCO Air Canada Business Excellence Award” for Businesswoman of the Year. Janet was also 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 , as well as Top Chef Canada Season 6 & 7.
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.