WATCH: Delicious Spanish and Mediterrean food from Ilovepaella
From Spain to Jamaica, Spanish chef Enric Escriva is ready to tantalise your taste buds with exciting and delectable Spanish and Mediterranean dishes.
To do that he has started a new catering company Ilovepaella. Moving to Jamaica in 2017, he is determined to share his food with the country. With a restaurant already established in England, Escriva hopes to open shop in Jamaica. "I've been here since September, and the few things I've done, Jamaicans love them. The food is different and unique, and I have had nothing but good expectations here," he told Food.
Cooking for almost 15 years, the self-taught chef says that he has been making paella all his life. "Paella is very popular in Spain, and is now an international dish. It is cooked with a special rice from Valencia; it's not like the long-grain rice, so it has more flavour, and we don't treat rice as a side dish. Instead, it's the main part of the meal," Chef Escriva explained to Food. The ancient Spanish dish is available in a wide variety you can have the seafood blend, vegetarian, or chicken paella. Whichever one you choose is perfect with a glass of wine.
Preparing the paella
The paella is for us (Spanish) as the jerk chicken is to Jamaicans. It has to be prepared properly everywhere we go," said an emphatic Escriva. He explains that preparing the paella is a very intricate process. A special pan is used, and it is never covered, which allows the rice to dry out, giving it a crispy taste. Traditionally it is cooked with olive oil, which also adds to the scrumptious flavour of the dish. Escriva, however, intends to experiment with the dish by substituting the olive oil for the good old Jamaican coconut oil.
In your quest for something different, Ilovepaella will certainly give you that. Outside of paella, Escriva offers baked or fried empanadas which bear some resemblance to the Jamaican patty - Spanish omelettes,; croquetas small, breadcrumb-fried food rolls containing mashed potatoes, cheese, and nuts), and coca atun (tuna and pepper on a base). The meals will probably have you performing the flamenco.
With an appreciation for Jamaican foods, especially jerked chicken, Escriva has already started to fuse the cultures, to create even more delectable dishes. "I have been experimenting with the ackee and I would want to try something with the jerked chicken," he stated. He guarantees your palate will thank you for the new experience. So, be on the lookout for great things from Chef Escriva and Ilovepaella.