POULSBO, Wash. — If you're in a rut with your home-cooked meals, a woman on the Kitsap Peninsula can teach you how to make Brazilian cuisine – and possibly, shift your entire perspective on food.
Sandra Rocha Evanoff runs the small business Brasil Comes To You – a personal chef service, with a twist.
"When you try different cuisine, you are traveling,” she said. "(With) Brasil Comes To You, I go to your home and you can participate if you want to cook with me, or sit in front of me and ask questions about the food."
For Evanoff, Brazilian food isn't just cuisine – it's a way of life.
She was born in a small town in Brazil's Bahia region, where her mother ran a bed and breakfast.
"We grew our food. We grew our vegetables and my father used to sell fruit,” she said. "I didn't have processed food in my life until I was 12 years old."
Even after she moved to Sao Paulo – a city of 20 million – Evanoff stayed focused on fresh, healthy ingredients, creating zero waste and bringing people to the table.
"In Brazil, we have lunch or dinner for two hours,” she said. “We sit at the table, stay at the table and have conversation for a long time."
When she married her husband and moved to Poulsbo, it was a huge change – but she embraced it.
"The mountains here have some meaning for me because my last name is Rocha, which means ‘mountain,’ ‘big mountain,’ ‘big rocks.’ And I feel this connection," she said.
Evanoff started sharing with her new neighbors by donating Brazilian dinners to local auctions and cooking for homeless shelters.
Then one day, while cooking with her grandkids, she realized she could share her culture with even more people by teaching and Brasil Comes To You was born.
During the pandemic, Evanoff pivoted to virtual classes.
"I think food connects people, builds relationships, inspires change, and bring communities together," she said.
Brasil Comes To You is also working with public schools to share recipes and fresh ingredients with children.