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Luis Arrufat

This young 34-year-old cook, native of Castellón de la Plana, is part of the teaching staff of prestigious Basque Culinary Center, as Professor of Master in Cooking, Techniques and Product.

Arrufat worked for 6 years at Bullí, in Ferrán Adriá cooking team where he was Pastry Chief Cook during his last year. He has also held important positions at other departments of I + D restaurants such as Azrak, or Jose Andres restaurant chains at Washington DC. During his intense professional career he has also worked at other Michelin restaurants, such as Mugaritz, El Drolma, El Chaflán, Akelarre, El Poblet de Quique Dacosta and Fagollaga.

Despite his youth, Arrufat shows a long career in teaching, and for years now he has taught several courses and seminars. He is also adviser to different gastronomic establishments from the Horeca group.

www.luisarrufat.com

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Mª del Carmen Donet

Back in the years 1963-1964, the couple formed by Maria Rubiella and Julio Donet rented Bar Parpalló (Barx) during the summer season. By 1965 they had become the bar owners, and with time and Maria's cooking skills, it would become popular "Bar de María". By 1975 they stay open for business all year long and acquire fame as a place in the mountain to eat Paellas.

In early 1980, Mari Carmen Donet starts as kitchen assistant until her retirement in 2002. Since then, she is in charge of the kitchen with her cousin, the business manager, and her daughter, Julia Donet.

Nowadays restaurant Parpalló, Richard Camarena’s favorite spot, specializes in Paella Valenciana, Arroz al horno (Oven rice) y Arroz con Costra (Crusty rice), among others. Mari Carmen Donet’s doings after 35 years in charge of the kitchen had turned this establishment into a gastronomic reference at Gandia and all of La Safor region.

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Evarist Millares

A Spanish Cooking Champion in 2011-2012 and Spanish representant for Bocuse D’or 2012.

Miralles (1978, Gandía), started his professional path in 1996 as cook assistant at Rte. Casa Pepa (1 Michelín star). He later served tasks at cooking and confectionary at Rte. El Poblet de Dénia (2 Michelín stars), Monasterio de Aguas Vivas and Rte. Can Roig.

Between 2002 and 2013 he has been an educator at the Centro del Desarrollo Turístico (Red de Centros de la Consellería de Turismo de la Generalitat Valenciana): CdtTL’Alquería del Duc, CdT Valencia and CdT Gandia.

Now he is co-owner and chef of “El Bollit Formaciò i Gastronomia”, business dedicated to celebrations and private events; and he is also in charge of Gestion de Masías y Salones in the area of Safor.

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Rafael Vidal Espinosa

Rafael's parents, Rafael and Dolores, open a small restaurant in 1968 in Benissanó. After completing his studies, Rafa Vidal joins the family business where he learns every secret of Paella tradition.

When in 1976 arrangements were made for the first visit of Spanish King and Queen to Valencia, the authorities enlist family Vidal to cook the paella to honor his and her Majesty. They do it again on 1990, but this time at the summer residence in Mallorca, where they also cook for the Princes of Wales.

From that moment on, popularity of Levante restaurant grew exponentially. They are visited by personalities in the world of politics, culture and sports. And they start to show Valencian Paella to the world, through different cooking competitions.First it was in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Pamplona) and later in Europe (Italy, Germany, Portugal, France) and in the USA, where they have developed a close relationship with chain restaurants Jose Andres in Washington DC and Las Vegas.

Nowadays Vidal manages 3 restaurants where traditional cooking of Valencian Paella is upheld.

www.restaurantelevante.com

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J.C. Galbis Olivares

"Paella was big, and Galbis made it gigantic". This is the motto of an emblematic family that has dedicated body and soul to hospitality, the creators of a business model that has had permanence in other places: gigantic paellas.

Juan Carlos Galbis (1957) is a member of Cofradía Mundial del Arroz. Among his awards, he has 1st Prize at Concurso Internacional de Paella Valenciana de Sueca; 2nd Prize at Fideuá de Gandia and Guinness record for the world largest Paella. He was also chosen to manage Pabellón de España kitchen during Expo Sevilla'92.

His professional path starts in 1975, working at Spanish and Swiss restaurants: Castillo de Beasain (Guipúzcoa), Cándido (Segovia), Currito (Madrid) and Mesón de la Villa (Aranda del Duero). From 1980 to 1989 he held the position of Chief Cook at his family’s L’Alcúdia restaurant. His effort of improvement returns him to the path of gastronomic research: Restaurante El Girasol de Moraira, jointly with Chef Heinz Orth; Restaurante del Hotel Albana en Silvaplana (Suiza) jointly with Chef Joachim Koerper. From 1989 to 1996 he is chief cook and owner of Galbis restaurant (Valencia) that obtained the 1st Michelin star in his city.

From 1998 until today, he is an educator at the Red de Centros de la Agencia Valenciana de Turismo, at CdT de Gandia. Since 2013 he has become I = D director of Gastrabal and adviser to IVIA (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones agronómicas del arroz).

www.galbis.com

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Jesús Melero

He is General Coordinator of Concurso Internacional de Paella Valenciana de Sueca since 1995 and owner of Ri-Rá restaurant since 1983.

Melero (1955) started his professional career at Restaurant Viveros, at Feria de Muestras de Sivaris, during the 70’s. He was also part of the cooking teams who inaugurated Hotel Azafata in 1973 and Hotel Rey Don Jaime in 1976.

Actually he holds the position of Vice-president of Club de Jefes de Cocina de la Comunidad Valenciana (Kitchen Chiefs Club from Community of Valencia). And since his recent trip around the world, pre selecting contestants for the 2014 Concurso Internacional de la Paella Valenciana de Sueca, he states: "Paella opens doors for you in any country, as the sea opened for Moses… It is amazing the good image and desire to know about Paella that people from Asia and Oceania have".

www.ri-ra.net