JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Daniel Tejada was raised by his single mother and grandmother in Peru and spent much of his young life in Mexico. While there, he learned all about the restaurant business.

Today, Tejada has brought his family, knowledge and South American culture to Johnson City.

Food is a sacred art to Peruvian-born Tejada, second only in importance to family.

“Put a little piece of you inside the heart of your guest,” Tejada said. “That’s what I learned from my mother – to work hard, to be focused, to fall down maybe 1,000 times but to get up 1,001.”

Inside Tejada’s restaurant, Brassa 51, hang four stars: one for South America, one for his wife and two for his daughters.

“It’s kind of [a] colorful and chaotic theme, but you will enjoy [it] at the end of the day,” he said. “With beautiful aromas on the plate, beautiful sandwiches.”

Tejada moved to the United States with his wife Nidia and two daughters, Valentina and Alejandra, eight years ago. The family came to Johnson City four years ago.

“I never [felt] something in my heart like I did for her,” Tejada said. “Now she’s my wife, you know her. Now we have two daughters, three dogs, a cat.”

“We have a little Peru right here,” Nidia Tejada said. “We are so happy because it’s new. People need to know more about Peru and the food because the food is really good.”

The Tejada family hopes to bring a new perspective to the region by deliciously blending American and Peruvian culture and cuisine.

“I think it’s time that Hispanic people take that pride in the things they make,” Tejada said. “Having a Peruvian restaurant is the start of that.”