Rules of Engagement

Paella Lovers United – Rules of Engagement.


Thank you for your interest in Paella Lovers United. An Austin Texas based paella group. If you are interested in becoming a team contestant, here are the guidelines we are requesting.

Who we are:
* We are a local Austin Texas group who loves good paella along
with a good party to go with it. Come visit our website at:

* Please remember that this is still a back yard style event. Competition is lively, but certainly friendly. There will be close interaction with other teams and patrons. Embrace them as we are family.

* Nov 12, 2016
* Doors open to the public at 12:00 – Teams can arrive at 10:00
* Competition is from 1:00 – 8:00
* Team Ready Times are:  1:30,  4:00,  6:30 (Groups of 10).  In Iron Chef fashion, these are “Pans Up” time.   No exceptions.


* Due to the phenomenal growth of Paella Lovers United’s annual festival, we have moved to our new location:  Camp Ben McCulloch – 11301 FM 1826 Driftwood Texas. (Right across the street from the Salt Lick)  =>
* See website for more information > Event Location

What Does It Cost?
* There is a small $29 setup fee for competing. There is considerable expense it setting up this event, including wood, transport and other expenses. We hope you understand. If you would like more information regarding this, please contact us at:

Deposits can be made through PayPal as seen on the website: > Paella Team Signup

Upon signup and payment, you will receive an email confirmation for PayPal and your team member (3) e-tickets.   You MUST bring copies of your e-tickets to the event.  This will allow three (3) and only three team members to participate as a team.   If you have additional members in your party,  you MUST either purchase additional entry tickets at regular price or use the Team Special PROMO CODE to be sent to you upon completion of your registration for a 50% discount.

No refunds to Teams cancelling.

Any team tickets purchased without having an actual team, either competing or non-competing, will NOT be valid and will be denied entry at the gate.

Team Names:
* Each team will be required to have a team name. This is for judging and documentation purposes.

Team Size:
* Each team is allowed a maximum of 3 members. All team members entry fees will be included and will each be issued an e-ticket to enter.  Any additional member must pay the General Entry or make use of the Team Special (offered below).

* This year, we are again offering a special, half price entry for up to three extra team supporters per team. (Helps for those with significant others to cheer them on).  After registration and payment, you will be issued a special code to purchase these tickets at a discount.

* Sorry, all other team supporters will be subject to the regular event entry.

Team Captain:
* Each team is required to have a team captain for contact purposes.  Team Captain is responsible for organizing, communicating with the event givers and keeping their team on schedule.

Team Email (required):
* Each team MUST have a VALID and WORKING email address for e-ticketing and communication purposes. It is the responsibility of the Team Captain to ensure communication with the event.  Please check email Inboxes and SPAM boxes.  Paella Lovers United will not be responsible for missed communication.

Paella Styles:
* There are numerous varieties of paella. However, the competition will be grouped into two broad categories.

  • Traditional
  • Keep Austin Weird

Both these styles will be paella rice based.

Traditional will be judged on how well the dish represents the true to form Spanish traditions.

Keep Austin Weird is everything else. The variety is endless and we encourage creativity.

Team Responsibilities:
* Team registration including name and contact person/info: Phone number/email/text, etc. This includes both registration and payment of Team Bundle.

* Above and beyond all else, ALL food prep and serving must be done in a CLEAN, SAFE and SANITARY manner.  All meats, seafood, protein products must be properly contained and refrigerated as necessarily prior to the actual making of the dish.  Foods must be properly cooked and prepared in the manner that the food and/or dish calls for.  No raw seafood, etc. Any unsanitary setups can and will be dis-qualified.

* All paella ingredients and kitchen prep tools for their dish. This includes work pots, knives, spoons, serving utensils, etc.  We encourage teams with quality as the main objective. After all, this is an open to the public event and everybody will be wanting to sample. Teams are expected to user quality ingredients and proper paella rice – for example,  Bomba or Calaspara (i.e., No jasmine rice or similar).
For examples, see:

* Their own work table. Some table space will be provided but will be limited – teams are encouraged to bring their portable tables if they have. Same with lawn chairs – best to bring your own. A flashlight for after dark cooking.

* Teams are now required to provide their own Paella pans – 26 inch (65cm) minimum required. Larger Pans are permitted and encouraged.  FYI: A 26 inch pan can feed approximately 19 – 25 people.
For sizing, etc see:

* Teams must clean-up their firepit and prep areas and make way for the next wave of teams immediately upon their “Ready” time.

Please note, that this is an open wood fire event. All competition paella will be prepared over an open, wood burning fire.  The Main Fire will be provided and maintained by Paella Lovers United. Teams will be responsible for controlling and regulating their own site. *NO* unsafe practices will be allowed. Use of team provided flavoring wood is permitted.

BURN BAN ISSUES: Unfortunately, Texas has been going through some of the worst drought conditions ever recorded in recent history. This may effect the use of open fires. In the event that the burn ban is in effect, Paella Lovers United may require all contestants to provide their own propane based cooking system. Naturally, this won’t be known until we get closer to the event. Please keep informed as to this requirement. Hopefully, it won’t be an issue. Currently, the burn ban is:   LIFTED

There are a number of excellent websites which provide pans and their
paella related material. Here are a few, but there are many more available online:  (Local Austin Company – Mention Paella Lovers for a 15% Discount)

* Pan support setup. (i.e. Large, open, oven rack or metal tripod,) The fire is contained within a small area by 6 inch construction cinder blocks. PLU will provide fire trivets (tripod) for use, or Teams can provide their own pan support setup to actually hold or balance their pan over the fire. Racks can be placed over/on the cinder blocks or within the pit itself. Heat regulation to the pan is the teams responsibility either by controlling the fire or pan height.

* Understand their own prep and cooking time and the timing of their dish for judging. Teams will be assigned a “READY TIME” and will be expected to be finished and at the presentation table on this time. Teams will have approximately 2 hrs 40 mins “firetime” available to them.


* Maintaining and cleaning their site area and act with safety for themselves and others around the open fires. Teams with children must keep their loved ones away from all open fires. Due to the Fire Marshall’s requests, there shall be no playing with fires of any sort.

* All finished paella with be available for open public consumption after judging.

* A lively, paella spirit with the sense of community.

What Paella Lovers United will provide:
* Fire pits, Main Fire, fire tools (shovels, etc) and metal trivets for supporting their pans. Please note that fire pits consist of an open wood burning fire. Each pit is roughly 18-20 inch square. This is not fancy, but it is functional. (See above for what teams are required to bring).  Safety water hoses and fire extinguishers will be nearby in case of emergency.

* Full size wash basin and cleaning table.

* Hand washing stations.

* Fire extinguishers.

* Limited prep table space.

* Lighting (after dark).

* Water, trash pickup, etc.

* Prizes and gifts for teams and place winners (to be determined).

Team Times (READY TIME):
* Competition starts at 1:00 and proceeds until all teams have been submitted. Teams will be presented in groups (Heats) of 8 -10 at a time.

* Each team will have approximately 2 hrs, 40 mins of firetime access.

* Teams ready times are arranged in “Heats”.  Current times are:  1:30, 4:00, 6:30   These are “Pans UP” time – no exceptions.

* Team signup are through the website: > Paella Team Signup

Time Limits:
* This is a casual competition – mostly for fun. However, teams will be assigned a scheduled “READY TIME” and be expected to adhere to it. With that, there is no preparation time limit. However, dishes must be ready at their assigned time. This allows judges to evaluate each dish. It is HIGHLY encouraged for teams to get to the site well in advance for preparation, etc. (At least 3-4 hours recommended).

Judging Criteria:
* Judging will be based on a pre-defined set of criteria. Items such as quality of the rice, texture, caramelization, presentation, etc. However, teams are encouraged to be creative in line with the spirit of the event. This criteria is available from the website: >  Paella Team Signup/Info > Judging Criterion

How to Sign up:
* Visit the website at > Paella Team Signup
and follow the instructions and fill in are requested information including team name, contact info, etc. Let us know if you have or need a pan. If your READY TIME is available, you can have it. Otherwise, we will try to assign the next closest time. Please remember that there is a $29 deposit which can also be paid through the website.

* You will be contacted for confirmation. Once at the site, look for Kelty Christman (ask anybody near the tapas tables – you will find her easily) or Vince Parrilla.  They will confirm and register your entry.


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