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Paella Class

These are photos I took at a Paella cooking class that Keewi and I attended in April of 2005 at the restaurant my wife works at, Restaurante Iberia of Menlo Park, CA. We won't attempt to teach you how to cook paella here, but we've annotated the steps just a little so you can get the gist. For more, attend a class!
Getting Started
Jose Luis, Iberia's owner and chef, gave us a pep talk, and then we started prepping the ingredients inside Iberia's kitchen. Our paella was to be a seafood paella, so we peeled shrimp and heated up a fish stock with threads of saffron. Tomato, green pepper and onion were chopped for the vegetable base of our paella. Joe and Kim, on the vegetable paella team, can be seen in the kitchen. Then we moved outside, and the sangria began to flow freely!
Seafood Paella
Outside on the grill, we started out by sauteéing the onion, then the garlic (moving the onion to the outside of the pan, where it is less hot), then the green peppers, and finally the tomatoes. Once the vegetables were cooked, we moved them aside and added the seafood, rice and stock (the details of which get complicated). You can see our team (Keewi, Stephanie & Mark) with the finished product!
Meat Paella
I didn't take many photos of the meat paella team, but here you can see the meat (chicken, veal, beek & pork) browning, and then mixed with the sofrito (the vegetables) and the meat stock with paprika on top, and finally with the rice, decorated with peas and red peppers (as the seafood paella was, too).
Vegetarian Paella
The vegetarian paella (vegan, actually — no butter!) turned out to be very tasty. They started out by browning various vegetables, then took them from the pan in order to cook the rice with their vegetable stock and sofrito. The browned vegetables were added back on top to create the finished product.
Jose Luis Relinque
Our tireless instructor, Iberia's owner and chef, Jose Luis.
The Feast
You can see the seafood and the meat paellas in their final form (I forgot to photograph the vegetarian paella); then we moved them inside to Iberia's banquet hall, where the paellas made a lovely and very appetizing triptych under the Spanish tapestry on the wall. We loaded up our plates, filled our glasses with wines, ports and other lovely things, and ate until we could eat no more! The last photo could be taken to be the wine-soaked haze we descended into as we gorged ourselves; I'm pretty sure it's a close-up of something alcoholic, anyway. :->

These images copyright © 2004 Ben Haller. All rights reserved.