Rules of Engagement – Port Aransas Texas

TEAMS – Please Read and understand this section thoroughly before Signing-Up!
(This list is subject to change – last update Dec 9, 2019)

Thank you for your interest in Paella Lovers United. An Austin,Texas-based group of paella cooking enthusiasts. If you are interested in becoming a team contestant for the Spring Event in Port Aransas, Texas, here are the guidelines for participating. Please remember that this is a community style event. Competition is lively, but still friendly. There will be close interaction with other teams and patrons. Please treat other teams as a family of enthusiasts for this wonderful cooking tradition.

Rules of Engagement: Quick Version

  1. Teams will pay a $39 (service fee included) non-refundable, registration fee. One (1) and only one Team Registration per team allowed.
  2. Teams may have no more than three core team members whose entry is included in the non-refundable entry fee above.
  3. NO un-ticketed helpers will be allowed into the event. After registering, half price tickets will be made available for up to 3 additional team helpers.
  4. Teams must use a minimum size pan of 26″ or larger (32″ preferred).
  5. Teams must do basic food prep offsite in advance and all actual cooking onsite.
  6. Teams must prepare paellas using a Team Provided Propane burner system (or equivalent) OR self contained, wood or material substance grill.
  7. Teams must adhere to the start and end times assigned.
  8. Teams agree and acknowledge that all competition paellas belong to the event and are intended to be served to the judges and general public. A portion will be served back to the team for their own tasting.
  9. Teams agree to read through AND understand the judging criteria in advance of the event
  10. Teams must to be properly registered and have a valid and working email, and respond in a timely manner to communication from Paella Lovers United when a response is requested.

Paella Lovers United reserve the right to eliminate any team not abiding by the Rules of Engagement or engaging in unsafe, unhealthy, unsanitary or unruly conditions or practice.  Paella Lovers United also reserves the right to add or substitute Teams at their discretion (i.e, Standby Teams, etc).

Rules of Engagement: Detailed Version

  1. Team Entry Fee
    There is a small $39 (service fee included) non-refundable fee per competing team (maximum core 3 members). Please note that: One (1) and only one (1) Team Registration per team is allowed (Any additional Team Registrations will be promptly refunded). Entry fees can be made through Eventbrite using our website link: TEAM REGISTRATION.
  2. Team Core Members
    A team is a collective group dedicated to making and presenting a paella for the event. Nobody may purchase a Team Registration entry and not have a competition paella. Each team is allowed a maximum of 3 core members. Each of the three team members will be  issued an individual e-ticket to enter. Captains are responsible for distributing tickets to his/her members.
  3. Team Support Members
    Paella Lovers United will offer a Special Promo Code for half price entry for up to three (3) additional Team Support Members per team. (Helps for those with significant others to cheer them on).  After team registration and payment, you will be issued a special promo code to purchase these tickets at a 50% discount. All other team supporters, family members, and friends, will be subject to the regular event entry price.
    Teams are required to provide their own Paella pans – minimum size of 26 inch (65cm) or larger (32″ preferred) and ALL necessary fuel source requirements. For sizing, etc see: Teams are strongly encouraged to label/tag their pans (i.e, flameproof clips, small lock, permanent marker, etc) and other equipment for identification purposes. Paella Lovers United is not responsible for lost or stolen items.Teams not meeting pan size requirements will be disqualified. There are a number of excellent websites which provide pans and related material. Here are a few examples, but there are many more available options online:
    Basic food prep can be done offsite. However, all cooking of paella ingredients must be done onsite – with the exception of liquid cooking stocks, which may be prepared in advance. For example, the “sofrito” must be made onsite.  Above and beyond all else, ALL food prep and serving must be done in a CLEAN, SAFE and SANITARY manner. All meats and seafood must be properly contained and refrigerated (i.e, in a properly chilled cooler, etc) as necessary 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, meat, etc. Any food prep or setup station deemed unsanitary can lead to team disqualification.  Teams should plan on bringing their own prep tables, stools, chairs, trivets, etc.  A list of the items Paella Lovers United will provide on site is below as well as list of suggested items to bring.
    Teams must provide their own heat source. All competition paellas must be prepared either with a propane burner system (or equivalent) OR an approved,  self contained, wood (or other substance) burning fire system. Teams will be responsible for controlling, managing and regulating their own fire, including wind protection. (Please be aware, that being outdoors and near the open water that there is usually some sort of wind – Teams must take account of this and be prepared). Absolutely *NO* fires deemed unsafe will be allowed. Teams using substance burning material (wood, charcoal, liquid oxygen, etc) MUST contain and take with them any spent remains and dispose of them properly.  Team members and Support Members must act with safety for themselves and others around any heat source. Teams with children must keep them away from all heat sources.
    Teams will be assigned a cooking area. Each team will have a total of 3 hours on their allocated site, including clean up and clear out time. Depending on space restrictions and if required, at the end of your allotted time period, you may need to be completely cleared out for the next group of teams.
    • At “pans-up”, means all teams should be ready to parade to the main pavilion and deliver their paellas to the serving tables – “Pit Bosses” will guide this process. Pans must be placed on the tables next to the corresponding team name identifier (PLU will provide identifiers).
    • Judges will quickly view and taste all of the paellas and select the top 4 paellas in each heat. Portions of those four paellas, along with photos, will be delivered to the celebrity judge table for final scoring. It will be announced which teams are advancing to the main judging table. After the paellas have been served to the judges, Event Servers will serve one plate of paella to each team. At this point, we will ask teams to leave the main serving area so we can open up service to the guest-line.
    • Teams should not plan on serving any of the paella they make. Event Servers will be responsible for serving the paellas to the public. This is to ensure the lines flow quickly, equal servings are served and as many people as possible get a chance to taste your paella.
    There are numerous varieties of paella. However, the competition will be grouped into two broad categories as shown below. Judging will be based on a predefined 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 on our website: Judging Criterion.
    • Traditional – will be judged on how well the dish represents the true to form Spanish tradition.
    • Non-Traditional (aka, Keep Paella Weird) – is where the variety is endless and we encourage creativity though it is still required to be cooked in the manner of a paella pan and methods.
    Each team is required to have a team name and team captain for contact purposes. The team Captain is responsible for organizing his/her team, communicating with the PLU event planners and keeping their team on schedule and in adherence with the Rules of Engagement. In addition, 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 when required. Please check email Inboxes and SPAM boxes.  Paella Lovers United will not be responsible for missed communication. It would be helpful if the team captain would also provide extra email addresses for their team members to facilitate communication.

What Paella Lovers United will provide:

  • An individual Paella Cook Station location
  • Safety water hoses and fire extinguishers in case of emergency
  • Trash pickup, etc.
  • Prizes and awards for teams

How to Sign up:

  • Visit the website at Port Aransas Team Signup and follow the instructions and fill in are requested information including team name, contact info, etc. There is a $39 entry fee payable through Eventbrite.
  • You will be contacted for confirmation, team check-in procedures, parking, unloading and we will available to answer questions via email prior to the event.
PA PLU Spring Event 2020