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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Ina Pinkney Shares Her Incredible Polio Story


A generation ago, most people in the U.S. knew a polio survivor. Today, there are so few left, there are very few so many people can’t name an acquaintance, let alone family member, who has been afflicted.

Ina Pinkney was infected in 1944, during World War II, more than a decade before the Salk Vaccine became available, stemming the annual summer epidemics that paralyzed communities almost like it paralyzed children.

Because parents didn’t know how the virus spread or why it did only in summer months, parents avoided many summer activities from ice cream to swimming pools.

Ina shared her touching story with me on World Polio Day, an annual event hosted by Rotary and the other members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. You can watch it in the video player at the top of this article.

Interview with Ina Pinkney.

The following is the pre-interview with INA PINKNEY. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

Ina Pinkney, chef/owner of the The Dessert Kitchen Ltd. and a polio survivor, speaks at Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Photo Credit: Rotary International

Ina Pinkney’s bio:

Twitter: @breakfastqueen1

Instagram: @thebreakfastqueen1

Website: www.breakfastqueen.com

INA was the Chef/Owner of INA’S, an American Food restaurant and a pioneer in the West Loop Market District, that closed at the end of 2013.  

She is a frequent and welcomed guest on radio, local news and cable TV,  has done interviews on shows in the U.S., Canada and Germany and appeared in a national Quaker Oats commercial as herself – the Breakfast Queen.

Articles about her have appeared in local, national and international newspapers and magazines, as well as trade and in-flight magazines.  Her recipes have been syndicated globally and featured in many cookbooks.

Ina has been a guest lecturer on Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University,  DePaul University and the University of Illinois, and has been the keynote speaker at food conferences and culinary school graduations.

She also speaks about breakfast trends for food companies.

In 2014, Ina was awarded the Golden Whisk Award from the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Organization for excellence in the kitchen, lead a coalition of Chicago Restaurateurs and Chefs to support Chicago’s smoking ban and co-founded the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition for restaurants in Chicago with Dan Rosenthal for which they received Chicago Magazine’s 2011 Green Award.  

She was named 2008 SBA Woman in Business Champion.

In 2013 she published INA’S KITCHEN: Memories and Recipes from the Breakfast Queen so that her recipes would live in everyone’s home.

Besides writing a monthly column for the Chicago Tribune called BREAKFAST WITH INA, a documentary about the closing of INA’S screened in 48 film festivals around the country.

Despite the awards and acclaim she has garnered in her career, the most significant title she holds is Polio Survivor.  Ina now speaks to Rotary groups about the late effects of polio in her effort to help Rotary and the Gates Foundation achieve their goal of the worldwide eradication of polio.


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