The Omaha Community Centre has a new celebrity chef from South Africa at the helm.
Ginja is the brainchild of 36-year-old Jacqui Brown, who is proud to be a redhead.
She once confronted a South African radio host about his verbal ginger-bashing.
“I went to the radio station, with food obviously, and he admitted I was a ‘ginja’ that knew what they were doing, and we became friends,” Jacqui says.
From that point, all of Jacqui’s enterprises have had the title including her food magazine in South Africa.
“The magazine was a challenge and I enjoyed it. I ended up being on the Food Network TV channel and travelled the country three times a week. Sadly, South Africa is not a safe place to live and bring up children. We gave up our lives and left.”
Although Jacqui decided she wanted to become a chef when she was five, the idea didn’t sit well with her father.
“My Dad gave me a hiding and said, ‘no child of mine will be a cook!’ Mum couldn’t fry an egg; if she does you’d better order take-out. I wouldn’t eat her food so started to make my own.”
She trained first in South Africa and then London. Her preference is for Mediterranean-style food but ultimately her passion is to “wow” her customers.
“I’m not a line chef, doing the same thing everyday. I want to feed you and if I don’t have what you want on the menu, give me the opportunity to create it.”
Jacqui has a team of chefs and they try to make everything from scratch, including the chicken tenders for the kids. She welcomes input from the community to help her create the perfect local eatery.
“Please talk to me because I enjoy creating. Get on our Facebook page, read the comments. It’s fresh, it’s local, and it’s high quality. This is a community centre and I am here for the community.”