Sinhá: community and Brazilian cuisine on Chicago’s West Side
// By Jacqueline Brennan
The community dinner at Sinhá (pronounced Seen-yah’, which means “lady of the house”) may be happening in Chicago, but rest assured the delectable cuisine will be 100% Brazilian. As noted on their website, “The food preparation is totally authentic and so is the chef.” That chef is Jorgina Pereira – born, raised, and educated in Brazil.
Orphaned at the age of seven, Jorgina was raised by her godmother in Rio de Janeiro, watching intently as she prepared traditional Brazilian dishes. After graduating from Catholic boarding school and working for a time as a social worker, Jorgina enrolled in an international program and found her way to the University of Illinois at Chicago. She later earned a master’s in information systems and worked in the corporate world for 25 years.
Jorgina opened her Chicago home as a boarding house for visiting international students. She also dipped her toe into catering from her house for friends and acquaintances, finding cooking to be personally enjoyable and an outlet for artistic expression. Fun fact: she’s a big Martha Stewart fan!
In response to the lack of restaurants in her neighborhood, she converted her brownstone, opening Sinhá restaurant on the West Side with a menu that reflects Brazilian culture’s many international influences, especially Portuguese and African.
Wonderfully festive, often featuring live music and samba dancing – and with twin themes of community and camaraderie – the décor and atmosphere will stimulate your visual and auditory senses. The offerings will whet your palate with tantalizing poultry, seafood, vegetarian, pork, and beef dishes – made spicy or mild – according to your preferences.
While you chat with the staff and Jorgina about Brazil’s rich history and tradition – and why she thinks hospitality is the foundation of economic development for every community – you’ll feast on a Brazilian spread that includes pineapple salsa, risoles, burrata salad, chicken bobo, chutneys and hot peppers, red velvet cake with flan, and more.
Upswell Community Dinners take you into Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods to eat like a local, get a sense of what life is like in the community, and experience firsthand how bonding over food and mission might lead to new friends and innovative solutions. To sign up for this Community Dinner, just select Sinhá when you register for Upswell.