Breakdown of a Scallop Dish from Pelekasis

Go ahead, Greek out with Chef Brendan Pelley.


Photograph by Tony Luong

When Chef Brendan Pelley got eliminated by Gordon Ramsay during the 14th season of Hell’s Kitchen, his only regret was that he’d miss the next episode’s Greek challenge, guest-hosted by his culinary idol, MP Taverna’s Michael Psilakis. No doubt, given that chance, Pelley would have trounced the competition. The former Zebra’s Bistro chef had just rediscovered his passion for the loukaniko and dolmades of his youth—dishes served during Greek Easter either at Olympia Restaurant, in Lowell, or at his grandparents’ house, surrounded by the heady perfume of cinnamon and braised lamb.

So Pelley used his newfound freedom last August to experience the tavernas of the Greek isles firsthand. Then he turned that Mediterranean month abroad, not to mention his dalliances with Greek cooking at Zebra’s Bistro, into Pelekasis, a modern Greek restaurant. Pelley is launching his venture in Wink & Nod’s pop-up incubator space and plans to eventually go brick-and-mortar.

“Many people think Greek food means the heavier, stodgier dishes like moussaka and spinach pie,” Pelley says. “But there are braises, cured and fermented meats, interesting cheeses—the Greek islands have this really cool melting pot of flavors.”

In the dish above: Local bay scallops are marinated in ouzo, the classic anise-flavored apéritif, roasted beets are grated and infused in a house-made strained yogurt to create a fuchsia-tinted tzatziki, and Pelley adds pomegranate seeds, dill, and Cretan olive oil—a nod to the fertile streets of the Greek isles he visited.

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