Vanessa Gianfrancesco: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Chef and TV personality, Vanessa Gianfrancesco. She originally planned to attend law school, but then decided to follow her dreams and pursue a career in the culinary world instead. Now, in addition to working on television and in the field as an executive chef, instructor and general director at Chef En Vous, she is also a published cookbook author and the founder and creator of the lifestyle website, Cooking With V

We caught up with the Montreal-based chef to find out what inspires her and what advice she would share with other young professionals…


1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Chef and TV Personality on Gusto’s One World Kitchen and Breakfast Television Montreal. General Director at Chef en Vous. Cooking Instructor-Traveler-Recipe Writer-Foodie-Inspire in the kitchen.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
FOOD – It has always been the centre of all good things in my life from traditions to holidays and gatherings! Quite frankly, I think food is one of the most beautiful things in the world, and I find beauty in the little things – I mean have you seen how gorgeous a lemon is?! My fave!

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Meeting Jamie Oliver at an event to celebrate the fact that he had joined the Gusto family! What a night, I was so happy to be a part of that!

4. Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 20 years?
I’m actually not a huge planner – I love that life is all about the unknown and the exciting possibilities that come your way! I’ve learned that if you do what makes you happy, success follows! So here is my plan for the next 20 years…
Five years: Doing what makes me happy.
10 years: Doing what makes me happy.
20 years: Doing what makes me happy.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Do what you love even if it doesn’t come easy. Believe in yourself. Follow that voice inside. Don’t be afraid to work hard because it will pay off!

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
The Ronald Macdonald House in Montreal – I give cooking classes and also go there a couple of times a year with a bunch of my family to cook for the families of the sick children. My purpose each time I go is to see the families smile through food. That is usually my gift to myself on my birthday and Christmas.

SPCA Monteregie – I am a huge animal lover and I try to be the voice that these animals don’t have.

7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Having people tell me that I would not succeed. Having to push through that and still stay motivated was challenging. It never stopped me – and believe me it makes it all the more worth it when you get to where you want to be.

8. What does the word notable mean to you?
I would love to think that notable is being recognized for doing something great in the world, making a difference; leaving a footprint.

Vanessa Gianfrancesco

Photo: Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen


1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Brunch: Arthur’s Nosh Bar. Perfect weekend vibe, just be sure to order a salty and sweet dish to share. It’s too hard to choose just one!
Dinner: Magpie. I love low-key and laid-back restos with great, honest food. You have to try their pizza!
Shop and eat: Boucherie Lorrain, love-love-love, you will have to see it for yourself to understand!

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Website emails (boring-lol-but true). Second is a travel website; I’m always looking for or booking a place to go.
Songs: wow…this depends on my mood, here are my two faves:
Lost Frequencies feat. Janieck Devy – Reality
Don’t Know Why – Norah Jones

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Ina Garten, she is a class act! She has an incredible eye for food, design, and entertaining – I’ve learned so much from her! I used to watch her since I was young and dream about being able to entertain like her!

4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I guess it is not a surprise that being Italian, one of my favorite countries to visit is Italy! And no matter which part of Italy you visit it is a treat; from eating the most delicious fish by the sea, to sitting and watching the sunsets in Capri, to sipping on a glass of vino in the piazza, to laughing your heart out by the shores in Nerano, to breathing in the fresh rosemary and lavender in the Tuscan vineyards, to driving through the winding roads in Positano, to falling in love in Venice, to spending time with the nonnas who have so much to love and knowledge to share, and to finishing off every day with a gelato. There is something for everyone! It is a must-see! Next on the list is Spain and Bora Bora!

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
With work being a major part of my life, I am always afraid of missing out on important moments with family and friends…balance is always something I am working on.

6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I’m laughing as I write this because my guilty pleasure is to binge watch episodes of Wheel of Fortune and People’s Court, in the comfiest pajamas, tucked under my covers in bed!

7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I am a fish for home décor and candles, what can I say I love a cozy space and great scents. My fave scents are anything to do with fig or pine!

I wish I spent more money on feeding the homeless; I currently do this now but would always like to do more. I don’t think anyone should go hungry!

8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Being able to wake up every morning and do what you love; something that doesn’t feel like work at all! And to be able to share your happiness with family and friends. My parents always taught me that if you have a pie, you need to cut it into enough pieces for everyone to enjoy a slice!

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