I was taught the Valencian paella by Don Jesús Melero, the world´s foremost authority on Valencian paella. Through the "Paella for the World" foundation´s efforts to promote Spain´s national dish, I was chosen to attend a master class taught by Don Jesús Melero in October of 2015. Here I am thanking him for his expert tips after my 2nd place finish in Jersey City, New Jersey.
I entered my first Paella contest in the fall of 2014. I remember that cold day like it was yesterday, I was the only woman competing. I was nervous going against executive chefs and chefs de cuisine from various restaurants. But my Black Paella was a huge hit with the crowd and really blew away the judges too earning me third place. I was thrilled. it was totally unexpected. This is a picture of my winning Black Paella. Isn't it gorgeous?
A real paella Valenciana has land animals only, no seafood. It has rabbit, chicken, rosemary, Spanish saffron, two different types of beans and , if you dare, you add the snails. It is the original and, in my opinion, the best of all paellas. This is my winning 2015 paella Valenciana.
"Chef Elisa Gonzalez makes the best paella I've ever tasted. I've been fortunate to experience her award-winning paella a few times at parties held at friends' homes. The part I love the most is the crusty, slightly burnt rice from the bottom of the pan. OMG - so crunchy and flavorful. Chef Gonzalez also puts on a show when she makes the paella. From the set up of the huge pan to all the steps that go into making the dish. It's an added bonus when she shares tips about paella making and paella contests. You can tell she's an expert and loves what she does. I highly recommend her delicious paella."
"There really aren't words to describe how delicious Chef Elisa's paellas are - and I've tried various kinds including Black and Valencia, that have stolen my heart. I can NOT eat paella in restaurants any longer. Having Chef Elisa create her paella for you and your guests is a warm, bonding entertainment experience. She lets guests participate and goes above and beyond to ensure everyone has a wonderful time."
-Linda Loughman Tanzer
How much does a paella cost?
A paella can be customized to suit your needs and your tastes so prices will vary according to the added ingredients. Prices start at 12.50 dollars per person for the chicken paella. Seafood paella varies depending on what seafood is used. Only authentic Bomba or Calasparra rice is ever used in every paella.
Do you make any accompanying dishes too?
Yes I can provide other side dishes, such as tortilla de patatas, setas al ajillo, patatas bravas and many other tapas and salads.
What about desserts?
I have experience making specialty cakes and other desserts to tailor your event.
What training do you have?
I was raised in Spain in a family of gourmands with an obsession with good food. Aside from that I am mostly self taught. However I was lucky to be trained by D. Jesus Melero in the art of paella making and continue to take cooking, pastry and baking classes regularly at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC with world renowned chefs like David Rosengarten, Anthony Ricco, and Nick Malgieri.