I catch up with Janet Zuccarini—the Top Chef Canada judge behind Toronto’s Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101 and 501, PAI Northern Thai Kitchen, Kiin, Same Same and Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen—on her way to her tennis game. That’s how she starts most of her days, if she’s not hiking or doing yoga. It’s a very California lifestyle, which is exactly what Zuccarini was after when she decided to split her time between her hometown of Toronto and L.A. “I came down to check things out and within 24 hours I fell in love with the city and decided then and there I’d live here for part of the year and open up a restaurant here.” She lives in Venice, just a few blocks from Felix, the farm-to-table restaurant she opened there, which was named the Best New Restaurant in America by Esquire magazine and was a finalist for a James Beard Award. By next year, she expects to have more than 700 employees across all her businesses. “I feel I’m just getting warmed up.” An avid traveller, she moved to Italy on her own at age 18, living there for eight years, before living in Southeast Asia for a while. Here, a glimpse into the life of restaurateur Janet Zuccarini.

Writer Paul Gallant

Paul Gallant is a Toronto-based journalist who writes about social change, LGBT issues, business, urban development and travel. His work has appeared in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Readersdigest.ca and many other publications. His debut novel, Still More Stubborn Stars, was published by Acorn Press.

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