PHILADELPHIA -Chef Janine Bruno never went to culinary and never planned on being a chef. She never saw herself hosting pasta-making workshops and culinary classes. She certainly never saw herself competing in international gelato competitions. Even more so, she never imagined she'd be in a position to compete for the best gelato in the world. Over the years, Bruno has accomplished a lot, but now she's ready for her most ambitious venture to date.
In 2016, Bruno was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many men and women diagnosed before her, her entire life changed forever due to her diagnosis. While she could fight off the disease, it was the first of three obstacles she would face in two years, including the end of a long-term relationship and being unexpectedly laid off from her job.
That's when she turned to cooking to help her cope. In late 2018, she created her brand: Homemade by Bruno. In April 2019, she launched a website and hosted her first pasta-making party. In 2020, Janine was identified as one of the top-six gelato makers in America by star chef Giada De Laurentiis. She was also named the winner of the Popular Jury at the Gelato Festival America in the same competition.
She recently competed in the Gelato Festival World Masters, which is held every four years and is considered the most prestigious gelato event in the world. There, Bruno secured a top-five spot in North America and is now considered one of the top gelato producers on the planet.
"I’m so excited to open my pasta and gelato shop in Philly and finally have my own space that isn’t my home kitchen,” said Bruno. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it truly changed the trajectory of my entire life. I kept thinking about how I wouldn't know I was very sick if I didn't go to the doctor for something unrelated. I stayed strong and positive throughout it because I knew I did not have another choice. Having that purpose and sharing it with others brought me back to life.
I discovered a passion and talent that I didn't know I had. It’s also essential to always be aware of what I am putting in my body, so I use only the best ingredients. I always say that I want to debunk the myth that pasta is unhealthy, and I’ll be teaching people about that and the difference between ice cream and gelato.”
"Pasta and cooking literally saved me. I was in such a bad place mentally after my entire journey. I felt that I was without a purpose, and when I started to cook, it empowered me and brought me back to my roots. I had to start my life over from scratch, and when I create these meals, it's the same thing. It's all a bunch of pieces that you need to put together from scratch. It is so rewarding and makes people happy, which means everything to me.”