Alex Betolaza, a Basque foodie living in Barcelona, has another passion besides cooking: the English language. Ever since he was a child, he watched the American movies in its original format with Spanish subtitles. His first cooking book, which he received when he was 16 years old, was written in English!
Alex took his Basque cooking roots with him on a journey leading to London, Los Angeles, Aspen and Miami, where he worked in various trendy restaurants. As soon as people heard he was from Spain, they’d either ask him about bullfighting or about the secrets of a great paella.
Since bullfighting wasn’t his thing, Alex focused people’s attention on the Spanish cuisine, which was brought to great heights by culinary maestro’s like Ferran Adrià, Carme Ruscalleda and Joan Roca I Fontané … to name but a few.
Spanish ham (Jamon Ibérico) and tapas are world famous. However, if there is only one Spanish dish that is known from New York to Tokyo, it is the paella! When Alex returned to Spain (Barcelona) he started working in a small boutique hotel where he occasionally surprised tourists with a wide variety of paellas. In doing so, he developed the idea of a cool place breathing Los Angeles, but reflecting the Spanish land and its culinary heritage.
He did not want to open another show cooking school, nor a static restaurant. Alex wanted to bring a full experience of discovering fresh ingredients, interactive cooking, and dining in a cool place where dishes are shared. In this way the chef is “just another participant” in a fully immersive cooking experience. Moreover, he felt the need to share the secrets of making a mouthwatering paella. He captured the essence of those secrets in 10 easy-to-follow steps. These are steps people, and now our clients, could easily repeat in the comfort of their home.
To stir up The Paella Club, Alex teamed up with Vincent Werner, a hands-on strategy consultant with a good appetite for quality foods. Vincent has done several different startups in Barcelona, has brought international businesses to Spain, and has even written a book about his experiences in Spain.
The “funky magic” of this team, and the fact these two together represent a unique spin on the modern “Renaissance Man” concept is manifested in the rustic and art-like interior of our enchanting place called “The Paella Club”. This is a place that offers immersive cooking experiences for all the senses.
When people ask Vincent about the activities that take place in the Paella Club, with a wink of an eye he will reveal…
“Rule number 1 about the Paella Club; you do not talk about the Paella Club.
Rule number 2; you do not talk about the Paella Club*”.
Our official line?
“Just come over and blend in!”