“Prodigy” Chef Has Left Peska Seafood – Updated
Omar Pereney announced on Facebook that he is leaving the restaurant formerly known as Peska Seafood Culture (now called Peska Seafood & Steaks), where he served as executive chef. The 22-year-old Venezuelan native is a classically trained chef who has worked in restaurants since he was only 12 years old. While still in his home country, he even starred in his own cooking show, Yo, Cocinero (I, Cook), on the El Gourmet channel.
This comes on the heels of a sweeping change in Peska’s focus. A press release recently announced that restaurant owner Maite Ysita has partnered “with Grazia Italian Kitchen, one of the concepts owned and managed by Jade Hospitality. Owner, Adrian Hembree, and Jade Hospitality’s Executive Chef, Steve Haug, will broaden Peska’s mostly Mexican- inspired seafood dishes by offering American-style steaks and sides to its menu.”
That indicates that Peska hasn’t reached its expected potential as a predominantly Mexican seafood establishment and the hope is that offering steaks caters more to Houstonian tastes. That said, Peska wowed restaurant critics with its remarkable selection of fresh seafood flown in from around the world. (My experiences at Peska during review visits for the Houston Press were a bit wobbly, but overall pleasing, especially during a quiet Sunday afternoon.)
Interestingly, Peska was number 37 in Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook’s Top 100 Restaurants list in 2015, but tumbled off the list altogether in 2016.
In his Facebook statement, Pereney wrote, “[These] last two years have been a great experience working with an amazing group of professionals. Awesome friendships and relations that will last a life time. Also have some big announcements coming soon! Hit me up with new collaborations.”
Update, 2/16/17, 12:55 p.m.: Both Pereney and Peska’s public relations representative have declined to comment on this story.