Chef Omar Jose Pereney was the young force behind Peska Seafood Culture. Then 20-years-old, the cheffing wunderkind from Venezuela had been working in restaurants since the age of 12 and helped bring Mexican import Peska to Houston. Pereney quit Peska in February of this year, when the restaurant rebranded itself into a Tex-Mex spot.
Now, Pereney is suing Peska, reports Houston Press.
Pereney’s suit alleges that Peska’s owners won’t let him out of his non-compete contract — and that they won’t give him back the rights to his name or his likeness. His contract also stated that Peska wouldn’t “disparage” Pereney, which is exactly what the chef is alleging the restaurant did — by saying his food was too artistic to be appetizing.
Pereney’s lawyer said in a statement given to Houston Press:
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.
Peska owner Maite Ysita also released a statement, saying that the restaurant’s lawyer believes the lawsuit is without merit.