THE PAELLA CLUB STORY
Alex Betolaza is the personification of the story behind The Paella Club. He was born in the Basque Country (País Vasco), a region that is known for its culinary highlights, both reflected in the world famous pintxos (“toothpick-tapas”) and the multitude of Michelin star restaurants.
An unknown fact to many people: Basque Country is the only region in Spain where men take place behind the stove as part of their cultural heritage. Private cooking clubs where all members are male are called txokos.
Alex tooks his roots with him on a journey leading him to London, Los Angeles and Miami, where he worked in various trendy restaurants. As soon as people heard he was from Spain, they asked him about the secrets of a great paella. This planted a seed…
He developed the idea of a cool place breathing as Los Angeles, but reflected Spain. He didn’t want to open a cooking school, nor a restaurant. He wanted to bring a full experience of discovering fresh ingredients, interactive cooking, and dining in a cool place where dishes are shared.
When Alex moved to Barcelona, he used the “ingredients” of LA and Miami, the interest in the paella, and his knowledge of fresh produce to stir up The Paella Club.
The man behind the scenes is Spanish cuisine lover Vincent Werner, a serial entrepreneur and economist with a Master in Banking & Finance and a Bachelor in marketing. Vincent has worked for multinationals like ING, L’Oréal, ABN AMRO and Renault-Nissan.
Since the year 2000, he has been living in Spain, where he has worked as a financial- and business consultant.
Vincent’s adventurous outlook on life moved him to endorse various start-ups, and as a hobby he set up “BCN” (Barcelona Cooking Night), a wine-infused cooking sessions for the discriminating gentleman.
Vincent now devotes time to supporting Alex’s Paella inspiration, as well as various other ventures.