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Peli Peli Chef/Owner Paul Friedman has a sparkle in eyes, a twinkle—he stands out! I first met him at a Woodlands Wine & Food Week event this summer.
That night he won the 2013 Chef of Chefs Award for a delicious dish he prepared from South Africa, his native country. Fast forward a few months later and I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Friedman and hear his incredible story of how his restaurant came to be.
It's a story of amazing loss, faith and perseverance. I've always believed in miracles; having worked as a journalist for some twenty years, I've seen evidence more than once. But, hearing Paul's inspiring story was a boost to my spirit. I hope it enriches yours!
Once you view the video, you'll better understand the design of the beautiful restaurant. The focal point of the dining room is a modern Acacia tree, the tree of life in the scriptures. The tribes of Israel are also represented with beautiful drapings that encircle the dining room. Chef Paul has both Judaic and Christian roots.
In addition to his amazing story of Peli Peli, located in Vintage Park, the food there is wonderful! Many of the dishes are greatly influenced by his South African heritage and are spectacular.
The Huguenot Filet was one of my favorites. This 8 oz beauty is covered with creamy blue cheese, bacon and then garnished with a black cherry and raspberry sauce. It's large enough for two.
Another beautiful dish is the calamari salad [above], a large presentation of perfectly spiced and grilled calamari, red onions and tomato on a bed of fresh spinach.
There are more traditional choices as well like herb crusted lamb, short rib osso bucco and a Chilean sea bass. The recipe Chef Paul shared with Goodtaste.tv is a South African sausage called Boerewors with a delicious tomato sauce. I have the recipe here!
The wine list features wines from all over world, and yes, from South Africa too.
I loved my experience at Peli Peli. If you go, be sure to ask to meet Chef Paul. He is one of many of Houston's top chefs who will be competing at Zest in the West…a fantastic foodie event featuring dozens of H-town's talented chefs and their creative dishes, wine tastings from all over the world AND an extensive selection of craft beers.