This weekend I had an awesome opportunity to attend the 5th annual Paella Challenge. Paella is a Spanish dish consisting of rice, fresh vegetables, seafood or other meat, and spices. My company had a team that was entered in the cookoff. It was really awesome to walk around and see the chefs in action creating huge pans of piping hot paella.
Saffron is generously used in many paella sand lends to the brilliant yellow color! More than half of the contestants used seafood including prawns, lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp, crawfish, and octopus!
This particular batch you can see the body of the octopus right in the middle. This pan isn't ready to eat yet, throughout the day each team made batch after batch to sample out to the crowd.
Many tables had unique displays to help showcase their dish. This team had an entire ice sculpture to keep their live lobsters and crawfish fresh.
Just one of many beautiful pans if paella.
This presentation is outstanding!
Each table full of fresh bright ingredients and sizzling skillets of paella.
THIS PAELLA WAS AWESOME. The chef is from Minnesota and his dish had ingredients including wild boar and quail. Not the traditional additions to this dish but amazing flavors and one of my favorites from the bunch.
This impressive beauty is the paella that my company's team dreamed up. It was hands down the nicest presentation. With a shrimp skewer pineapple centerpiece! The flavor was also great. Not too fishy like several of the others. Way to go guys!
Paella for dessert? Sure!
This was a cold, rice pudding style fruit "paella". Really great, and an awesome addition amid the savory contestants.
I didn't get a photo of the winning paella because we had to leave before the judging took place. Overall the event was awesome! All the food and drinks (beer, wine, SANGRIA!) were included in the cost of admission, around $55. Because my company was part of it, Ryan and I were able to attend for free. Even if you aren't a huge fan of paella, which I discovered I really don't care for it much, we couldn't pass up a great deal like that.
I suggest you check out local events happening in cities near you because you never know if there might be a cook off or other food festival as well as other fun adventures!
Hope you all had a great weekend!
Thanks for stopping by!
Til next time,