LEE Culinary Competes at Paella Festival Attended by Mayor Nirenberg

Chris Loustaunau, Staff Reporter


Would you go to an all you can eat seafood festival? Would you go even if our own Mayor says he loves it? Well, the annual Paella Festival is a perfect opportunity to try other people’s paella and even for restaurant owners to test their skills and see how their skills match up to the best. On Mar. 11 the 12th annual Paella Festival was reopened since last year the chefs and high schools weren’t able to compete in the competition because of covid.  Well, you might be wondering what paella is. Paella is an East Spanish dish that originated in the Mediterranean and what it contains is purely up to you. Paella is what the dish is called when it is made with a paellera pan. You can put anything in it, anywhere from shrimp, to lobster, or even a whole wild boar’s head, occupied by rice, any type of rice you would want, red, orange, spiced, and white. Paella is a perfect dish if you’re the kind of person who likes to pick and choose what you want in your food. One of the competitors made a unique chicken tikka masala-inspired paella. This is the kind of creativity you can expect at the Paella Festival, truly original and outside the box.

Samuel Luna, one of the students competing with our own LEE Culinary Team, was asked: Who is able to compete in the high school challenge? “Only the advanced students in the culinary department. Meaning juniors and seniors,” Luna (11) said. He was also asked if he knew about paella before the competition. He simply answered, “No actually, The festival was the first time I Ever heard about it.”

The Paella Festival allows professional chefs and high school students to compete and see who makes the best paella. In the middle of the day the judges started to judge the high school students, the professionals started to get their dishes judged about an hour later, and you’re able to vote as of this year, so instead only the judges determining the winners, the people can vote as well. At the end of the day everyone came to the center of the event and the winners 1st, 2nd,and 3rd place of the High schools and the Professionals. 

The event is for people of all ages, no matter who you are, paella is something you’ll be sure to enjoy. Even the Mayor loves paella. “Oh yes, of course paella, it’s phenomenal,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. 

When asked: why did you come to the festival? Nirenberg said “I enjoy seeing what our community can do and supporting them while they do it.” The long-lasting question on the minds of San Antonians’ minds is whether San Antonio cuisine is better than Austin’s. Well Mayor Nirenberg can confirm that “Oh, there’s no competition… We have a rich history with our food that Austin is nowhere near.”  

So, even If you haven’t tried paella, the festival is a perfect place to try our city’s truly outstanding cuisine. San Antonio has always proven themselves successful when it comes to our spectacular food and amazing dishes. Who knows, maybe you’ll love paella too.

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