Jorgina Pereira, the chef behind Sinha
is often torn between her desire to retire under a palm tree and to conquer every challenge in her life path. Orphaned as a child, she became a social worker in her native Brazil, and when it seemed impossible for a poor girl to attend college, she achieved a Masters in Information Systems.
Pereira grew up with the smells and tastes of her godmother's culinary alchemy. Living in America, she yearned for the tastes of her homeland and began experimenting, relying on her sense memory to guide her way. Now, every Sunday afternoon, she opens up her home to the public for a Brazilian-style brunch featuring feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, an amalgamation of rice, black beans and rich, smoky pork.
As a former IT consultant, Pereira says she always had to stay one step ahead of her customers, anticipating their needs; now as chef, she does the same thing. She's the Brazilian grandmother you never had, preparing rich family meals for the masses. Considering her constant desire to serve others, it'll be a while before Pereira sees that palm tree.
What do you wish you could change/pickle about the Chicago restaurant scene?
I love the diversity of Chicago restaurants. One can easily be transported to a different world and experience the sublime delicacies from exotic cuisines. I also wish that many natural chefs out there could fulfill their culinary dreams to become entrepreneurs in this difficult and expensive industry.
What would your last meal be?
Back in my boarding school days with the Order of Ursulines, I would fake sickness just to have a soup made by a nun that always took a pity on us. The soup was made with chicken broth, corn meal, shredded collard greens and a good touch of olive oil.
What Chicago chef would you be most willing to share a kitchen with?
I have been very curious about Penny, from Penny's Noodle Shop. Before she opened, I used to pass by the Lakeview location and dream of a tiny, cozy restaurant under the L. Penny seems to be kind, natural and genuine. I would like to share a stove and learn more about her cuisine and her experiences back in Vietnam.
What's the can't-miss dish at Sinha?
The moqueca de peixe com camarão, or fish shrimp stew.
What should we know about Sinha that we probably don't?
If something appears difficult or impossible to realize, I dare to accomplish it. Sinha is the result of a personal challenge and a great desire to serve.