Born and raised in Downtown São Paulo, Janaína Torres Rueda runs, alongside Jefferson Rueda, five business in the area. The first one, Bar da Dona Onça, opened in 2008 in the iconic Copan building, was the precursor of a redescovering movement in the neighborhood, which began to be revitalized with the arrival of new hype establishments. Since then, the bar has been not only a trendy spot, but also a point of convergence for different tribes, who compete for the crowded tables to taste the chef’s comfort food. Inspired by family recipes and the popular Brazilian traditional cuisine, the menu offers stews, well-seasoned rices and other dishes that strike a chord with the diners’ emotional memory.
Janaína also runs A Casa do Porco – number 12 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking – and plays an important role in managing the family’s business, which include Hot Pork, the ice cream parlor Sorveteria do Centro, the recently opened Merenda da Cidade and the family artisanal cold-storage plant Porco Real. All of them opperates accordingly to the chef’s mission to improve and transform the population’s diet, offering quality artisanal products at affordable prices.
From 2015 to 2019, invited by the Government of the State of São Paulo, Janaína worked as a volunteer in the development of the project “Cooks for Education”. In four years, she managed to transform the meals of state schools by replacing processed and industrialized products for in natura ones. She also have trained the cooks to prepare it. The project covered around 1800 state schools in São Paulo, benefiting more than two million students. Unfortunately, it was discontinued by the next government. She shares her experience at “Cooks for Education” with audiences all over the world, presenting lectures at forums and gastronomic events in Latin America and Europe.
In september 2019, the chef cooked her famous “feijoada”, the tradicional brazilian stew made with black beans and meats, at Refettorio Paris, social restaurant that feeds people in social vulnerability. Created by chef Massimo Bottura trough his NGO Food for Soul, the project transform surplus ingredients – that would otherwise be wasted – into delicious meals, served at beautiful dinning rooms.
Recently, Janaína Torres Rueda has been named the winner of the American Express Icon Award 2020. The recognition, presented by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry and has used their profile as a chef to raise awareness and drive positive change. The award reflects her commitment to the community, from campaigning for healthy school meals and inclusive gastronomy to mobilizing industry leaders around Covid-19 relief efforts and helping vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
Janaina is also the co-author, alongside journalist Rafael Tonon, of the book “50 Restaurantes com mais de 50”, about restaurants opened more than 50 years ago. In June 2021, she took over the presidency of Instituto Brasil a Gosto, founded in 2006 by Ana Luiza Trajano. The organization works by promoting projects that value national ingredients and guarantee their accessibility to the final consumer, always working on proposals that represent a relationship between man and nature and reinforce our cultural identity. Finally, in july 2023, she debuted on primetime television as a regular judge on the show Top Chef, on Record TV.