It’s officially springtime in the Alamo City, and locals have come to expect this sizzling culinary event to usher in the season’s change. The annual Paella Challenge hosted by Chef Johnny Hernandez (La Gloria) is in its sixth year at the historic Pearl Brewery – each year bigger and better than the one before it!
For 2015, 40 chefs, 10 high schools participated in two separate challenges to date raising over $300,000 for continuing culinary education and student scholarships. So while the event is lightly competitive, there are no ‘losers’ here. Local chefs get a chance to mingle while working together…and may the best paella win!
Every restaurant represented at the Paella Challenge is supported by Sysco – partners in this event. It starts with the Sysco Pantry where ALL of the chefs go to stock up on exotic ingredients for their paellas. Our cameras caught several familiar faces participating…Chefs Brian West (Smoke), Steven McHugh (Cured), Jeff Balfour (Southerleigh) and 3-time champion James Canter of Guerrilla Gourmet shown here… 😉
Groomer’s Seafood, a six-year sponsor of the event, finally competed this year and took home 1st place in the Classical Paella category!! Feast your eyes on their winning creation…congrats guys!
The complete list of winners is below. One thing’s for sure – no one goes home hungry!
1st Place – David Gilbert, Tuk Tuk Tap Room
2nd Place – Flor Vergara, True Flavors
3rd Place – Jesse Perez, Arcade
1st Place – Juan Sanchez, Groomer’s Seafood
2nd Place – Angie Bridges, Copa Wine Bar
3rd Place – James Foote, Victoria Country Club
Lorenzo Morales, The Experiment
H-E-B HIGH SCHOOL PAELLA CHALLENGE
1st – Byron P. Steele
2nd – William Howard Taft
3rd – Robert E. Lee