Growing up, Sarah Rinkavage was a picky eater. Whatever the reason for her persnickety-ness, Rinkavage eventually snapped out of it. The palate widening revelation came in no small part to a dish she had one day that was packed with peppers, as much an eye opener as a tear-jerker. So, by the time she was 16 and in need of a job, Rinkavage wasn’t disinclined to work with food. Although she originally planned to be a barista at Café Ra in Wallingford, Connecticut, Rinkavage found herself drawn to the flavors with which the Café’s Jordanian chef was cooking. She started talking to him, and he started teaching her, and a career path was cemented.
Graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Rinkavage knew she didn’t want to stay in New York. On a whim, she moved to Chicago and found her place at Rising Star Chef Jason Hammel’s Lula Cafe in vibrant Logan Square. Over the course of five years, she worked her way from garde manger to chef de cuisine, never backing down from challenge and showing a finesse and inventiveness with farm-inspired dinners. A trip to stage in Copenhagen, Denmark, and an ensuing tour of Italy to explore small town food culture and learn from Italian mothers, were veritable cherries on top of an unexpected, thriving, and entirely discerning career in food. In 2015, Rinkavage earned a StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award.