World-famous chef Omar Jose Pereney, who was chef at Houston’s Galleria-area Peska Seafood Culture until February of this year, has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant owners who changed the nature of the restaurant and will not now let him out of his non-compete contract nor will they give him back rights to his name and likeness.
“A world famous chef was asked to go from gourmet seafood to mac and cheese and onion rings. Then he was disparaged, told he could not compete and that the restaurant still owned rights to his name and likeness. We need the courts to help this superb chef get back to his craft,” said Mr. Pereney’s lawyer Ashish Mahendru of Mahendru P.C.
Coverage of this lawsuit includes the Houston Chronicle story Celebrity Latin American chef sues Houston restaurant. Says his contract is a ‘hostage situation’, the Houston Business Journal story ‘World famous’ chef sues former restaurant after the two parted ways, the Law360 story Houston Chef Says Restaurant’s Noncompete Unenforceable (subscription required) and the Houston Press story Chef Omar Jose Pereney Is Suing Peska.
Mr. Pereney, a prodigy who started a cooking show on TV in his native Venezuela when he was a young teenager, worked for Trainera’s owners’ restaurant in Mexico City before coming to Houston in 2015 to open Trainera’s Peska Seafood Culture. Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook included Peska Seafood Culture at #37 in her 2015 Top 100 Houston restaurant list.
But the restaurant owners decided to change the seafood restaurant into a TexMex place and Mr. Pereney and the owners parted ways in February 2017. The restaurant owners broke an agreement to not disparage Mr. Pereney when one told local media his work was too artistic to be appetizing. They also refuse to let him out of his non-compete and refuse to give him back rights to his name and likeness.
The lawsuit is Omar Jose Pereny v Ceviche Trainera L.L.C. and Trainera Enterprises L.L.C. No. 2017-33549 in the 152nd Harris County State District Court.