Janaina Rueda, the chef and owner of O Bar da Dona Onça and the fine dining destination A Casa do Porco in São Paulo, was awarded the American Express Icon Award for the Best 50 Restaurants in Latin America before the ceremony to be held on December 3.
Successful chef Rueda, known as “Dona Onça” meaning “lady jaguar”, is working tirelessly to bring positive changes in Latin America’s chef community and industry with a great sense of social and professional responsibility both inside and outside the kitchen. Speaking of the award, which recognises her outstanding contribution to the industry, she said: “It is very rewarding and exciting to be recognised with an award like this. My hope is that this space will help to raise awareness about important issues, such as the debate on diversity and the search for an increasingly inclusive and democratic gastronomy. It is our role, as food agents, to support the most vulnerable, especially in this pandemic moment. The time for change is now!”
In both her businesses and community projects, Rueda practices her belief that good food should be accessible to all by serving healthy, plentiful and affordable food. At her casual diner Dona Onça in the city centre, she serves hearty dishes like a chicken stew called galinhada and at more upscale A Casa do Porco, where she cooks with her husband, they have a tasting menu priced at less than $30 per head.