Getting to know the people who make up Central Ohio's service industry

Hoping to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant someday, Gahanna residents Andy Figallo and his wife, Melinda, launched Nazca Peruvian Eats food truck in April 2019, serving the kinds of foods that Andy grew up eating. Andy, whose family is Peruvian, was the first in his family to be born the U.S.

Nazca is named for a city in Peru and the mysterious Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs located in the Peruvian desert. Before starting the food truck, Andy says that unearthing the mysteries of his mother’s Peruvian recipes posed a unique challenge.

Wanting to learn more about Peruvian cooking, Melinda set out to cook her mother-in-law’s authentic recipes. But something tasted off, Andy says, like an ingredient was missing. “We started realizing my mom was doing a little bit of sabotage to the daughter-in-law,” he says, laughing. 

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Melinda did her own research, Andy says, and the results eventually rivaled or even—gasp—surpassed his mom’s cooking. Melinda’s success was thanks in part to the wide availability of Peruvian ingredients in local international markets like Saraga and La Michoacana, a luxury Andy’s mother didn’t have in the small Central Pennsylvania town where Andy grew up.

The food truck’s specialties are pollo ala brasa and lomo saltado. The former is Peruvian roast chicken, a dish so popular that the South American country dedicates a national holiday to it. (Nazca even boasts a rotisserie spit on the truck.) Lomo saltado, meanwhile, is a beef stir-fry that exemplifies chifa cuisine, a fusion of Peruvian ingredients and Cantonese cuisine brought to Peru by Chinese immigrants. facebook.com/nazcaperuvianeats

First food memory: Waking up on Saturday and Sunday morning to the sound of Cumbia music and the sight of my mom dancing and making breakfast for the family

Special occasion meal: Usually we cook at home. Our go-to meal is blackened fish with mango salsa, snow crab legs and a nice, big baked potato. 

Favorite breakfast spot: Hellas in Dublin. They have the best French toast in the area. 

Go-to sandwich: A Katzinger’s grilled salami on sourdough or the Mikey Burger from Flip Side

Go-to bar: Hamilton’s Pub or Cornerstone Pub in Gahanna 

Favorite travel destination for food: Chicago or Washington D.C.