From patron of the arts to diehard cyclist, Giuseppe Ciuffa’s passionate pursuits run the gamut.
Having grown up in a small, rural town in Italy, Giuseppe Ciuffa fondly remembers watching his mother and grandmother prepare elaborate meals—each a special occasion filled with friends and family, spirited conversation and, of course, delicious, fresh food. At age 14, he snagged a job as a pizza boy, and he’s been hooked on the culinary industry ever since. After arriving in the United States in 1994, Ciuffa made a name for himself in San Diego as founder of Giuseppe Restaurants and Fine Catering (grnfc.com), and now he’s lauded for his local charitable efforts as well. “I got involved with philanthropy to learn more about different organizations, and it became a way to get our name out there to those who needed help,” Ciuffa says. “We’ve done hundreds of events for a variety of nonprofits across all types of interests, from arts organizations and museums to children’s causes and health-related initiatives.” Events include Moores Cancer Center’s Luau & Legends of Surfing Invitational in August, and Outside the Lens’ Shutter & Stout gala in October. An avid cyclist (his father gave him a road bike for his 8th birthday), Ciuffa also raises money and awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, participating annually in the Million Dollar Challenge—a seven-day, 620-mile fundraising ride from San Francisco to San Diego. This coming spring, he plans to ramp up his support of local art galleries, schools and more via Candor (1030 Torrey Pines Road, Ste. B, La Jolla, dinecandor.com), his new European-style restaurant and wine bar in La Jolla. “We all need a helping hand sometimes,” Ciuffa says. “If you can share what you have and know, and give back to those in need, then you are doing something good in the world."