Chef Jamie Oliver’s Paella Recipe Stirs Up Controversy

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By Cooking Panda

Oh boy.

We all have a favorite dish or recipe that we like to be made just right. For me, it’s my mom’s vegetarian lasagna — I didn’t even realize that most food establishments put meat into their lasagnas until I ordered it at a restaurant once and was presented with a dish swimming in beef. Even now that I’ve accepted the variations in different recipes (twelve years later), I secretly find anything other than my mother’s method of preparation an inferior dish.

Apparently, the Spanish feel this way about paella.

Jamie Oliver tweeted out his favorite personal paella recipe earlier this week, writing: “Good Spanish food doesn’t get much better than paella… My version combines chicken thighs & chorizo.”

Instead of receiving thanks or feedback from interested at-home chefs, however, he received a deluge of criticism from the Spanish, who, per Metro, consider the inclusion of chorizo a culinary crime against the traditional Valencian dish.

Per Metro, Wikipaella cites authentic paella as being made with white rice, green veggies, beans, meat (including rabbit, chicken, duck, or snails) and seasoning.

Chorizo is not an acceptable meat, and the inclusion of it in a recipe can transform paella into what they adorably call “rice with stuff.”

Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy told the Evening Standard that he agrees with all the criticism Oliver has received. “It is a sacred recipe that everyone has to stick to, to call it Paella,” he said. “Chorizo is not allowed, peppers are not allowed, onions are not allowed, even. … He’s being criticized because he called it paella instead of ‘Spanish rice’. But I think you need to call things as what people know. He brings food to the people.”

Meanwhile, Metro reports Oliver as standing by his recipe, reportedly telling Toronto press that his chorizo is not only super good, but that chefs should be innovative in the kitchen.

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“Look, I think there’s so much evolution in recipes, whether it’s a risotto or paella or a classic. I mean, you know, if people try and say it’s a classic is that OK? Why is there one hundred recipes that are all slightly different? I think it’s good to respond to what’s available in your market.”

Sources: Metro, Evening Standard / Photo credit: Epicurious

Tags: Chorizo, Jamie Oliver, paella, Twitter
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