Women’s History Month Spotlights Janet Zuccarini
A chef, an entrepreneur, a creative food curator, what can Janet Zuccarini not do? She is the sole owner and visionary behind Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, opening 5 restaurants during the pandemic shows her belief in her culinary vision. Janet stands out as a woman and powerhouse entrepreneur who takes delicious dining experiences on a global scale. An adventurous traveler, Janet has her finger on the pulse of the world of restaurants and food, see where her vision lies within her newest restaurant Gusto Green.
What inspired you to start Gusto Green?
Gusto Green has been a dream of mine for over 25 years. My love of food also comes from a place of taking care of your health and wellbeing. You can eat well and still be healthy and do good for the planet. We wanted to create something that considers the environment, the future of food and personal health. That’s what we believe it means to be plant-forward. Gusto Green has an omnivore friendly menu that puts plants first. Every best-in-class purveyor is thoughtfully considered for quality and sustainability before joining our menu. At Gusto Green, we look at the forefront of what’s on the horizon and keep moving toward the future of food.
You have a lot of plant-based food centered around your menu. Is your progressive thinking inspired more by healthy eating trends or the data behind the overall value of a plant-based diet?
I learned to eat well living in Rome for 8 years, where I started cooking for myself, picking up fresh produce from the farmers market each and every day and cooking with organic and hyper local ingredients. If you look at the Blue Zones, the diets are based on whole foods, plant forward eating, lots of beans and legumes, with some animal protein but in small quantities. The Mediterranean diet has some very strong scientific data behind it to support longevity. Another turning point for me was dining at a restaurant in Singapore in 1996, where you would first visit with a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor and then he would prescribe what to choose from the menu in order to support your individual health concerns. That’s when I turned to my sister who I was with and said: “this is the future of food, where food is medicine.” It’s taken many years to bring this personal dream to life, but we are finally here with Gusto Green.
What is your future vision with Gusto Green?
We don’t have any scalable concepts within my group that we are currently scaling, but we have also planned to scale Gusto Green, with flagships in other states in the U.S. and Canada.
From being one of the most revered restauranteurs in the world, what dish at Gusto Green is your favorite? And what global or home experience influenced that particular dish?
My last meal would have to be pizza, so if I’m forced to pick one favorite dish at Gusto Green, it would be our fermented sourdough pizza, with asparagus and buffalo mozzarella. Asparagus just came into season, so it feels like stepping into Spring, with a beautifully balanced, simple and delicious pizza.
Open from Tuesday-Thursday 5 p.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.- 10 p.m.
709 N. 718 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Photo courtesy of Gusto Green, WAGSTAFF