On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Omar Pereney joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his role as co-owner and culinary director for A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group. The conversation begins with Pereney explaining how an interest in cooking led him to start working in restaurants at age 11; eventually, he appeared on a popular Latin American cooking show and earned an executive chef position at 16.
All that success led Mexico's La Trainera restaurant group to recruit Pereney to serve as executive chef at Peska, its ambitious, Galleria-area seafood restaurant. Although Pereney didn't leave on great terms (the restaurant ultimately closed), he says he looks back on the time fondly.
"Peska, for Omar Pereney, it was a blessing and a half," he says. "I learned so much. I cooked so much. I poured so much passion and love. I wouldn't change anything about that experience; well, maybe a couple of things, but you know what I mean. I don't know that there's been a lot of chefs who have had the chance to be exposed to that kind of product and that kind of customers. All of it was just a precious experience."
The conversation continues with the chef explaining how, as a consultant, he helps would-be restaurateurs avoid the mistakes that can sink an establishment before it opens. He also shares a couple of memories from his time working as a private chef for the Bush family.
Prior to Pereney joining the show, Sandler and Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson discuss the news of their week. Their topics include: Bon Appétit selecting Blood Bros. BBQ as one of the country's 50 best new restaurants; Dak & Bop's plans to open a new location in Lazybrook/Timbergrove; FM Kitchen's second location in Montrose; and restaurateur Ken Bridge reacquiring his ownership stake in Pink's Pizza.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Masson and Sandler discuss their meal at Rosie Cannonball, the high profile, Southern European comfort-food restaurant from master sommeliers June Rodil and David Keck, chefs Felipe Riccio and Adam Garcia, and local businessman Peter McCarthy.