Janet Zuccarini knows a thing or two about eating well. As the sole owner of the Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, she’s the visionary behind an acclaimed group of seven restaurants, including Los Angeles’ Felix Trattoria, which snagged the number one slot on Esquire‘s “Best New Restaurants In America 2017” listand a finalist slot for “Best New Restaurant” at the 2018 James Beard Awards.
Eating well is, of course, part and parcel to living well, and the seven years Zuccarini spent in Rome during her undergrad and MBA were an excellent primer. But running an empire that’s growing at breakneck pace—Zuccarini says she’s doubled the size of her business in the past two years—doesn’t mean your day is filled with sampling perfect bites of pasta (though it is a job perk).
Zuccarini’s days typically start at 7 am when she takes her dog, Roma, for a walk and makes breakfast: a double espresso, crispy fried egg, avocado, and bacon. After a 20-minute meditation session, a marathon of calls with her management and kitchen teams commence.
But that’s only the schedule when she’s at home in LA. Zuccarini is a travel enthusiast who prides herself on having created a career that allows her tons of freedom, both creatively and logistically.
“Although the early years were about working long hours in every position imaginable, I have slowly built and designed my company in a way that allows me to work to my strengths, as well as to exclusively work on things that I truly enjoy,” she says.
She’s living the freaking dream, in other words. Below, Zuccarini shares the little tips and tools that help keep her grounded.
“How well did you live, how well did you love, how well did you learn to let go?” –Jack Kornfield