A mother and her two daughters have risen above pandemic weary to become New York City’s Peruvian Qoyas. Translating to “Queens” in the Inca language of Quechua, Alicia, Magaly and Vanessa brought their pride and homemade recipes to showcase Peru’s most authentic dishes — and the name to match.
If there was one word to describe this Hell’s Kitchen trio, it would be resilience. On brand to our HK community, the female-led family unit behind Qoyas NYC Peruvian Cuisine has overcome the pandemic through health and business turbulence.
Pre-COVID, their venture was gathering momentum through in-person pop-up events, official UN receptions, and a residency at Queens Night Market. Then, the pandemic hit… and their work came to a full stop. They weren’t about to let that get them down though, and they battled on (and continue to do so) despite 2 different kitchen contract breaks, their produce expiring several times, and the daughters getting infected by COVID-19 just a week after their second kitchen opening.
Qoyas is a pioneer in the rising trend of “ghost kitchens”. The concept has seen a huge rise in interest during the pandemic, where indoor dining has been severely affected in past months. Taking up the challenge, chefs and restaurateurs are renting out professional kitchens, such as within hotels, to prepare their menus for delivery-only options.
In New York, the hospitality industry has been gravely affected. Communities are coming together in innovative ways, bringing collaborations and partnerships to the future of the restaurant industry. Hotel and restaurant kitchen partnerships are creating new life and a beneficial symbiotic relationship, as demonstrated with Qoyas NYC Peruvian Cuisine — adding to the awakening of the city from a shuttered midtown hotel on W36th street. NYC is back!
“When you have a goal, a vision, challenges are going to come your way in various forms; it’s a matter of how bad you really want to make this work … you just have to stick through your gut feeling and keep going,” explains Chef Magaly. Passionately devoted to the family’s goal, she virtually taught her sous-chefs intricate home-recipes so to not shut down (again!) and to keep her staff employed — all from her COVID-19-ridden bed.
While several Peruvian restaurants line New York City’s streets, the authenticity of Qoyas NYC Peruvian Cuisine’s menu is what makes their food stand out. “Peru is more than roasted chicken, ceviche and green sauce,” Vanessa proudly explains. “There’s so much history behind each plate. We don’t fusion [the food], and we honor tradition like we’d eat at gramma’s house when we were kids.”
Their commitment to heritage and tradition has already made Qoyas a fan-favorite on the dining delivery apps, with Latin influencers taking note too. Before the NYC lockdown, Qoyas had made its NYC debut with a very successful pop-up at La Pulperia in the Upper East Side, and later became a staple at the Queens Night Market.
While in-person events are on hold, this female-led team is growing their reach and carrying their heritage and traditions through their food. While we’re still grounded and unable to travel globally, feed your wanderlust through a Peruvian culinary journey with Qoyas.
By month’s end, a new brunch menu will debut, and every week there are specials added to the menu. To learn more about the history of their dishes, as well as their full menu, visit their website (www.qoyasnyc.com) and support a great local female-owned business as we enter Women’s History Month!