American consumers are one step closer to getting the paella they crave, thanks to two former ICEX Spanish Gastronomy Training Program interns and entrepreneurs: Jeff Weiss and Paras Shah. As they say on their company website, Valencian Gold, at the moment paella is only really available at full-service restaurants.
In their quest to make paella for the people and turn it into a fast-casual meal, their company is offering a clever catering service, currently available in the Las Vegas area, where they will come to your house, office, or party and prepare a delicious paella. Specializing in live-fire paellas demonstrations, the team is prepared to serve any size crowd: from a romantic dinner for two to a large wedding event.
At the moment, their menu includes paella-inspired rice bowls, which allows clients to customize their experience. They can choose their rice and then select meat or vegetables, grilled over a Josper grill, and then choose their sauces and toppings. They also make side dishes and soups.
Weiss participated in the 2009 ICEX program, interning at Alicante restaurant Casa Juan, renowned for its paella. He has made a name for himself in California by preparing paellas at events. He documented his experience in Spain with a cookbook entitled Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, which was nominated for a James Beard Single Subject Award and for the Best International Cookbook as part of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Shah participated on the ICEX program that same year, interning at the Hotel Santo Mauro, Portal de Echaurren, and elBulli. He has also worked at other top restaurants, among them Per Se and Momofuku Noodle Bar, both in New York, his native city.