The Philosophy Behind the Experience
An ultimate Spanish cooking experience where you aren’t made to feel like a tourist.
We’ve all been there. You travel to a new place and you want to learn more about the regional culture, cuisine, and history. You excitedly seek out a new class only to be deeply disappointed by the egoistic flair of the experience. Here at The Paella Cub, we engage with our friends, sharing laughter over a warm stove and might even stop to take a picture with you along the way. We take pride in our expertise, but we not cost of our visitors. No stuck-up Michelin star chefs here, just a few friends here to guide you through your own culinary journey.
At The Paella Club, we believe in the power of terroir and the importance of the individual actors working in the chain that ultimately brings the ingredients to the plate. We use locally sourced ingredients and strive to provide a farm-to-table experience that celebrates the not only the culture and environment but most importantly the people involved.
When people around the world are asked to name one Spanish dish, 9 out of 10 times their answer is “paella”. With its versatility, multidimensional flavor personality, and iconic presentation, it is not surprising that this delicious dish was able to achieve international recognition. When learning the secrets of Spanish cuisine, why not start the creation of the historically famous and modern-day classic.
Alex Betolaza: Founder
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. There are even private cooking clubs where all members are male, where are called txokos.
Alex remained true to his roots during his life journey which lead him to London, Los Angeles and Miami, where he worked in various trendy restaurants. While abroad, Alex noticed an reoccurring phenomena: as soon as people heard he was from Spain, they asked him about the secrets of a great paella. This is where the idea first began.
Alex began to develop an idea of creating a space in Los Angeles that could reflect and share the beauty of Spanish cuisine and culture. Not a cooking school, nor a restaurant. Instead, he aspired to provide individuals with a true gastronomic experience where they could discover fresh ingredients, take part in interactive cooking, and have a shared dining experience in a breathtaking environment.
Returning back to his Spanish roots, Alex moved to Barcelona, where he used his background and knowledge, or shall we say the “ingredients” LA and Miami, his interest in the paella, and his knowledge of fresh produce to stir-up what is now The Paella Club.
Alex Villar: Executive Chef
Originally from Canada, Alex combines his Mexican and Spanish roots with a cosmopolitan flair to create his signature spin on classic mediterranean cuisine.
Alex has a deep history in food, and accomplishing much at a young age, starting with being the first North American student accepted to the famous Basque Culinary Centre, where he spent four years honing his craft.
After BCC, Alex accepted a position at the world famous Noma restaurant in Denmark, where he made such an impression over his two years there that led to his role as part of the team which set, coordinated and opened a Noma pop-up experience in Mexico.
After a few noteworthy stops in Barcelona, Alex accepted the lead role with The Paella Club to share his wealth of knowledge and experience to those who enjoy the cooking classes!