Paella is both an Art and Science itself. Art in the sense that it has varying types, presentation and components. It’s Science because it requires precise steps to achieve the desired taste and texture. Obviously, there is a certain man who has mastered the balancing act of both to perfect this Spanish delicacy we all love, and his secrets have been revealed.
Meet Eduardo “Ditto” Lesaca, whose name equates to delicious Paella. His goal is to preserve the legacy of his family’s heirloom Paella recipe, and make it available for commercial consumption. Undeniably, his creations mark difference from those we commonly order at the restaurants. It’s fresh, generous with ingredients, rich in and taste and quality. Ditto says, “My Paella has lots of everything. You will not even see the rice until you break through layers of prawns, squids, chorizo and chicken.”
The recipe was handed down from his maternal grandfather, Alfredo Guidote and then passed on to Carmen Guidote Lesaca, Ditto’s mother. He didn’t want the recipe to die just as his ancestors did, so he thought of learning the recipe and selling it to the public. He detests going to Spanish restaurants forever for commercial paella and resolved to develop this heirloom dish for prolonged indulgence, and food business.
We tasted Paella Valenciana and Negra for a food tasting event. The tiger prawns were plump and juicy, it took me a while to eat it since I was caught up between devouring the savory Spanish rice, or to peel those large prawns. The squid was cooked well to a perfect texture and all the other ingredients made me feel I was in a grand feast. There is a clamor for choosing the best tasting among the two, but both had its winning prowess depending on your preference. Personally, I loved the Paella Valenciana. It was a perfect description for my compounded love for rice and seafood.
According to Ditto, a good indication if you’re doing it right if the Paella has no or just little burned rice underneath. And true enough, his paella doesn’t need any scraping for toasted rice leftovers. He also ensures that the ingredients are guaranteed fresh – as he goes to the market as early as 5 am to purchase his supplies. He doesn’t want to keep a stock of ingredients on his ref, as they should be dispatched within the day.
Although the prices aren’t as cheap as that of the others, he assures that his paella has great value for money as seen in its quality. He candidly revealed that some of his loyal patrons even come from the upper class of the society.
The intricacies of Paella from the preparation, cooking method and ingredients elicit a profound admiration in me. While I dream of learning this culinary specialty for my future family, I am happy and honored I was able to experience its unfathomed goodness through Ditto Lesaca.
Personal (Serves 2): Php 2, 000
Cozy (Serves 5): Php 4,000
Small (Serves 10): Php 6,000
Medium (Serves 20): Php 8,000
Large (Serves 40): Php 10,000