Meet Ria Rueda, a New Canaan mom who helps raise awareness and funds for Food for the Front Lines (FFTFL). Created in response to COVID-19, FFTFL supports community restaurants while feeding frontline workers. Rueda, who is a PR professional and the founder of Bread & Butter Marketing, will be producing and launching a new IGTV series called “The Buzz.” Find out more about Ria and her favorite local hotspots.
Portraits by Jerri Graham Photography
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have one 17-year-old daughter who is a rising senior in high school.
What brought you to New Canaan?
I’m a Los Angeles transplant and we moved to Westport 17 years ago. Eight years ago, I was writing a new chapter in my life and had the opportunity to move to the Silvermine area of New Canaan. I love the fact that I’m located in an area where I can get to Norwalk, Wilton, downtown New Canaan, and the freeways within minutes.
What’s your favorite family activity in town?
My favorite activity in town is walking around my neighborhood. It’s an area with a beautiful landscape and eclectic homes.
Tell us about Food for the Front Lines (FFTFL) and how this grassroots initiative started…
Food For the Frontlines was created two days after COVID19 hit in March by my friend, Nicole Straight, whose daughter is a volunteer EMS in Westport. It started by calling our chef/owner friend, Bill Taibe, and having him deliver meals to the EMS team. This grassroots initiative had two goals: help our community restaurants as we knew they would struggle during this time and feed frontline workers. In six weeks, we raised $130K and paid 40 restaurants to prepare meals for frontline workers in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Trumbull, Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, and Danbury. When we came to using all of our funds, we pivoted the initiative while still keeping our commitment to the restaurant industry and started FOOD FOR BEHIND THE LINES (FFBTL). Now, we are raising money to create food pantry boxes for food insecure unemployed restaurant workers. Thus far, we have provided over 500 pantry boxes feeding 2000 people and plan to continue this initiative as long as our restaurant industry friends need it.
How can people support this initiative? Where is the cookbook available?
Another way we are raising money for FFBTL is by selling an e-cookbook published by CTBites. One of my team members is Stephanie Webster, Founder & Editor of CTBites, and she and her team created a beautiful e-cookbook featuring 100 recipes from CT chefs. The e-cookbook costs $25 and 100% of the proceeds benefits FFBTL. $25 is the cost of one food pantry box.
Your “day job” is running Bread & Butter Marketing. When do you start your company?
I’ve been a PR professional representing consumer brands and planning events for over 20 years. I’ve worked at agencies and in-house in Fortune 500 companies. I was the former in-house Director of PR for the Barteca Restaurant Group overseeing public relations the Barcelona and bartaco restaurants in the country. From there, I started Bread & Butter Marketing representing a variety of restaurants in Fairfield County and planning events for the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival, Food Rescue US, and the Westport Farmers Market.
My current “day job” is the Brand Ambassador and showroom manager of the Monogram Designer Center at Aitoro Appliance in Norwalk and I’ve been working for the Brands for the last 1.5 years. It’s the only other Monogram Design Center in the country and my role is to generate awareness about Monogram Appliances by coordinating cooking demos and special events for builders, designers, architects, and consumers. I am also excited about producing and launching a new IGTV series called “The Buzz”. I’ve always been an advocate of supporting local small businesses so this is a fun way to continue doing that. It’s an experiential series that takes viewers around the region in search of the latest places to eat, play, and indulge. From the farmlands and coastline of CT to artisans’ and designers’ studios and everything in between, you can join me for the fun, the adventure, and the experiences of “The Buzz.”
Favorite part about your job?
What I love about my job is the fact that I’m doing three things that I enjoy: 1) interacting with a variety of people and learning more about the home & design industry; 2) I love to cook and entertain in general and I’m able to do it at work too; and 3) I get to plan some innovative opportunities to educate people about the Monogram Brand.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
The best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom is to not dwell on the past or to think too much about the future but to be mindful and stay in the present. This is important to me because I can have the tendency to be thinking about the “woulda, shoulda, or coulda” or worrying about a future outcome.
How do you unwind when you need some “me time?”
When I need some “me time”, I like to either go for a walk, enjoy some quiet time reading a book with my English Bulldog, Bear, or go for some foot reflexology!
Favorite band, book, tv show…
This is a hard question because I have an eclectic taste in music and like all types of genres so I don’t have a favorite band. My favorite book is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein and my favorite TV shows are crime dramas…especially the British ones.
We love supporting local businesses. Favorite places in town or nearby to…
Dinner: South End
Drinks or Date Night: The Tavern at Gray Barns
Spend time together as a family: New Canaan Farmers Market
Spa or Relaxation: Sun Reflexology in Westport
Grab coffee: Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee
Grace Farms is another peaceful place to go!