The Al Borde team took first place at the “LA Paella Fest,” beating out 38 other paella teams in Southern California.
Los Angeles, CA. Against all odds and competing against the best paella restaurants in Los Angeles, Al Borde’s team made history at the first Paella culinary contest in California’s largest city. And as of now, and until someone claims otherwise, the Al Borde paella is the best in Los Angeles, walking away with $1,000 in prize money and the satisfaction of beating out 38 paella teams from around the world, including Spain, the country where the popular dish originated.
Al Borde was the last name announced by Armando Rodiel, host of the “LA Paella Fest” at the La Plaza de la Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, and marked the finale of the awards ceremony and high point of an event with more than 1,500 people in attendance and a jury chaired by Javier González, director of the Baja California Culinary School, who also served as a judge at the Valencia International Paella Contest.
“In Spain, a paella is synonymous with a family gathering, friends, drinks, music, and much happiness. And this is exactly what we were able to carry out on Saturday, a unique, fun and well-attended event that was open to professional chefs as well as novice paella teams,” said Rodiel.
Sharing in the joy of preparing more than 100 paellas for the large crowd also included second place finishers Hermanos Ezquer, a Tijuana, Mexico family, and Canary Island celebrity chef Piño Moreau, better known as “The Paella King,” who took home the third place prize. “Expectations have been far exceeded, and next year, in addition to San Diego and Los Angeles, we are planning to also hold a contest in San Francisco,” said Rodiel.
For the Al Borde’s team, three Spaniards, the surprise was over the top. “It may sound cliché, but we, for real, had no chance of winning,” said Pablo Scarpellini, captain of the Al Borde team, a Latin alternative media company owned by El Clasificado. “I think it was a lucky combination of things, the help of our partner Benjamin, a German chef who loaned us part of his equipment, and a perfect touch in cooking the rice. These are the sort of days when everything goes right.”
“It’s incredible,” said a very emotional Martha de la Torre, cofounder of El Clasificado, when she heard the news. “Now we’re going to have to open a restaurant.” That said, one historic day.