A Japanese chef has won the first prize in the paella contest of the World Paella Day, held on Tuesday, September 20 in Valencia. It has been chef Kohei Hatashita, who has won with a recipe that includes duck with orange and leek.
The second place in this annual contest organized by the Valencian city has been for the Ecuadorian Cristian Raúl Arroba, while the third has been occupied by the Colombian Arturo Pedregal, with a dish with quail.
According to the mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, World Paella Day "is a day to show recognition and respect for a tradition that in this land is cared for by all and that must continue to be taken care of".
In the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where the event was held, Catalá said that "today is the only day that Valencians willingly accept not to follow the traditional recipe of paella, although we will continue to do pedagogy of the traditional recipe, which is what corresponds to us".
Duck paella with orange and leek winner of the World Paella Day.
The day of this fourth edition of the World Paella Day has started at 10 am with the duels that have faced chefs representing Poland against Ecuador, Italy against Colombia, India against Germany, Japan against Mexico, the United States against France and Morocco against Romania, who have cooked very curious versions of paellas, inspired both by the different countries of origin of the participants and by the local product.
Among them, for example, are those made with black truffles from Transylvania, with pastrami, with coconut milk, black garlic compote or with Andean potatoes. The spectators gathered in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, who cannot taste the dishes, have contemplated from a stand and through giant screens the process of making the different rice, the final result and the proclamation of the winner of the 2023 edition.
The jury of this international paella competition that exalts the world-renowned traditional dish has been formed by the head chef of Llisa Negra, Juan Ramos Roda; the manager of L'Altet Restaurant and distinction of honor of Wikipaella, Carmina Crespo; the head waiter of BonAmb and National Room Award 2022, Cristina Prados; the sommelier and head waiter of Apicius, Yvonne Arcidiácono; the singer of the musical group Seguridad Social, José Manuel Casañ, and Sam Giansante, representing Eric Gil, winner of the World Paella Day Cup 2022, and Juani Kittlein, runner-up of the same year.
Kohei Hatashita, winner of World Paella Day.
With the aim of teaching about the culture of paella, claiming its Valencian origin and that the participants of the World Paella Day Cup become ambassadors of Valencian gastronomy, each year a training itinerary is proposed that includes different contents around rice, cooking techniques and ingredients, among others.
This year, the chefs have toured reference spaces of Valencian gastronomy with the help of experts and paella masters.
They have visited l'Albufera with Santos Ruíz, from the D.O Arroz de Valencia, they have known the different varieties of rice and have been in the garden to know the product of kilometer zero that makes up the traditional recipe.
In this itinerary there has been no lack of master classes with Rafa Margós, chef of Les Bairetes, who has taught them the handling of firewood, as well as with Chabe Soler, winner of the World Paella Day in 2020, and Noelia Pascual, winner in 2021.