ABOUT THOMAS NGUYEN:
SOUTH AFRICAN ASIAN
I’m not really South African (surprise!), but I did co-found Peli Peli and Peli Peli Kitchen, two popular South African-inspired restaurant concepts in Houston, Texas. I didn’t start my career as a restaurateur though, having gone the “safe route” to law school at the University of Texas and being a lawyer for 3 miserable years. I started life over at the age of 27, moved back in with my parents, ate a ton of humble pie - all to get a second chance at doing something that actually made me happy.
AWARDS & HONORS:
Golden Fork Faces of Diversity Award from the Greater Houston Restaurant Association (2019)
2015 Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient
2016 Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year
2016 & 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist
Texas Exes Distinguished Alumni Nominee (2017)
Wrote feature story for national Asian-Interest blog, Angry Asian Man, titled, "Breaking Stereotypes When It Matters Most"
Featured as the "Angry Reader of the Week" on October 2: angryasianman.com
Wrote the cover story for the Houston Press and was featured on the cover "So you want to open a restaurant" (October 20-26/Volume 28/Feature 42)
Largest offer in CNBC's Restaurant Startup history - January 27, 2016
Graduate - University of Texas School of Law (2001), B.A. in Journalism from University of Texas at Austin (1998)
Co-founder - Omega Phi Gamma Fraternity (largest Asian-interest fraternity in Texas with four chapters)
Spearheaded Omega Phi Gamma Endowment Scholarship at UT (2016)
2x Ironman (2015,2016), also completed 50 mile run (Hell's Hills) in April 2015.
Featured in articles for Forbes, Inc, Costco Connection, Success Magazine, Sparq Business IQ (CapitalOne) and OpenTable Blogs
Organized the first ever Prom for the children at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center on April 30, 2016. This program has been approved by MD Anderson Cancer Center and occurs on the last Saturday of every April.