Kayla & Misty Vallejos Kayla Vallejos has been cooking since she was 13 so it was only a matter of time when she would own her food operation. Vallejos, proud owner of Albuquerque-based Taste of Love food truck that started business this spring, got her start working at Burger King and then moved on to waitressing and bartending. She really wanted to work in the kitchen but didn’t have any formal experience until a husband and wife team allowed her cook in their restaurant in her home state of New Jersey. “A lot of places wouldn’t hire me because I was a woman and I didn’t have a formal background in cooking,” Vallejos said before she joined the husband and wife team. “That’s where I learned mostly everything, especially making homemade stuff.” And it’s that home cooking she creates at Taste of Love – from the Jersey Smash Burger made with Taylor Ham, a thick sliced pork roll, to green chile alfredo fries to handmade pastas fused with Southwest flavor, including fried carne adovada and cheddar ravioli.
Taste of Love is one of several food trucks that The Loan Fund has financed in recent years. Stay in Your Lane, a truck specializing in breakfast and lunch, and Smokin’ Good Bistro & Deli, which moved from Rio Rancho to Las Vegas, NV, during the pandemic, have both obtained loans for truck purchases and working capital. “Food trucks are a great way to try a food business venture without the high overhead costs of a restaurant,” Loan Officer Jennifer Silva says. “They have grown in popularity over the years as TV shows have popularized the mobile food industry.” Silva says many of the food truck entrepreneurs who come to The Loan Fund are in the start-up phase and have obtained a loan after their traditional banks have denied financing to these types of businesses. The entrepreneurs typically pay these smaller loans off in two to three years. Vallejos says she probably wouldn’t have been able to get financing without The Loan Fund. “It would have been a lot more difficult with all the fees,” she said. “The Loan Fund has been very helpful. It’s also local and it’s not through a bank – that’s what’s been good about it. “ For Vallejos and her wife, Misty, a native New Mexican, their business and passion for food is in their company’s name. They use fresh ingredients from their garden to craft a menu honoring their two homes. “I just like to make other people happy with food,” Vallejos said. “To me, it’s really calming, I can just be creative and do what I want to do.” Follow Taste of Love on Instagram @tasteoflove_foodtruck
and Facebook @tasteoflovefoodtruck, or find a menu on their website on tasteoflovefoodtruck.com.