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Pisko Peruvian Gourmet to Open Restaurant
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Pisko Peruvian Gourmet to Open Restaurant

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By Caelin Grambau, University of Pittsburgh English Writing & Spanish double major

Doris Valdivia first came to the United States from her native country of Peru in 2008 for her son. Her dream was that he would be able to attend better schools, and live a better life. Now, nearly fifteen years later, she is finally living out her own dream: opening a Peruvian restaurant to celebrate and preserve her culture, community, and heritage all in the heart of Pittsburgh. 

Valdivia is no newcomer to the food scene, both in Peru and here in Pittsburgh. During her childhood in Peru, she spent years cooking and learning from her grandmother, Tarcila Rodriguez, who taught her how to perfect authentic Peruvian cuisine. 

“My grandmother, Tarcila Rodriguez, who was born in 1919 was my teacher of traditional cooking, [she] used traditional Peruvian recipes, and ancestral kitchen tools inherited from the Incas (native Indians of Peru) such as the Batan (a stone grinder) and cooked most meals with a rustic stone stove with firewood,” Valdivia recalled of her grandmother.

Peruvian ceviche

In 2018, after a decade of living in the United States, Valdivia opened her catering business, combining her grandmother’s knowledge with her own, and Pisko Peruvian Gourmet, named after Peru’s traditional drink, pisco, was born.

Waiting for the Right Time

When the pandemic hit, Valdivia was faced with a number of hard choices. She remembers making the decision to shut down her business and buy a house, as her husband had also just lost his job to the pandemic.

All the money that she had saved for opening her restaurant was now going towards keeping them afloat in the midst of uncertain times. “In 2019 I raised money for a food truck, but in 2020 the Pandemic came, and my husband lost his job. We had to pay rent, utilities, and food, I had to close Pisko due to a pandemic, and the money I saved for the food truck was running out. I looked for a cheap house to buy and with the little I saved, I was able to buy my house in September 2020,” Valdivia said.

Now, nearly three years into the pandemic, Valdivia is starting to see some light at the end of what had seemed like a very long tunnel.

Just this July, Valdivia launched her platform with Honeycomb Credit, the community-based investment platform that helps local businesses, like Pisko Peruvian Gourmet, find the money and investors to accomplish their small business dreams. 

Salsa Nights with Peruvian Food

To celebrate this recent journey, Valdivia will be hosting a series of salsa nights alongside JD Wineries until the end of the year. The events will be hosted at 100 Adios Dr. Suite 1030, Washington, PA 15301 from 6 to 10 PM. There will be traditional foods and beverages of Peru, as well as music and dancing with salsa instructors Jeff and Colleen Shirey of Salsa PGH. Jeff Shirley will also be DJing the event.

The event’s food menu has included causa (a mashed potato cake with lemon and Peruvian yellow peppers) topped with lomo saltado (sauteed beef) or aji de gallina (chicken with Peruvian yellow pepper cream), as well as papa a la huancaína, Peruvian yellow cream with cheese and Saltines. Every dish is also served with Pisko Peruvian’s rocoto cream, a spicy Peruvian sauce.

Honeycomb Campaign to Open Restaurant

If you are interested in contributing to Pisko Peruvian’s campaign with Honeycomb Credit, check it out here. For any catering needs, head to Pisko Peruvian Gourmet’s website for more information, and for more on their Salsa Night celebration, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/piskopg

¡Felicitaciones con su campaña a Doris, y mucho éxito!

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