Paella, the classic Valencian rice dish, is undoubtedly beloved by foodies around the world. On June 23, Chicago celebrates this delicious plate by bringing together some of the city's best chefs for a good, old-fashioned cook-off! Months before September's highly anticipated Hamburger Hop cooking competition, Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet has local chefs and culinary crusaders flexing their competitive muscle with the First Annual Paella Cook-off.

The competition will be held Monday, June 23 at South Loop's Mercat a la Planxa from 7-10 p.m.

Chicago Gourmet has partnered with award-winning, celebrity Chef Jose Garces of Mercat a la Planxa to present the inaugural cook-off. The Most Valuable Paella (MVP) will be determined by an esteemed panel of judges, while attendees will be able to cast their vote for "The People's Paella" winner.  

Chef Jose Garces

A portion of proceeds will benefit the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF), a non-profit organization (501 c3) dedicated to building the future of Illinois' hospitality workforce.

Date: Monday, June 23
Time: 7-10 p.m. (6 p.m. start for guest with VIP tickets)
Place: Mercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave.


General Admission: $75 per person
General admission includes paella samplings from the featured chefs along with a sangria bar, Spanish-inspired cocktails and beer from Spain.

VIP Tickets: $95 per person
VIP tickets include an exclusive reception beginning at 6 p.m., hosted by Chef Garces, passed pintxos and a specialty cocktail.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Participating chefs:

Jess DeGuzman, Sunda New Asian
Kevin Hickey, Bottlefork Bar & Kitchen
Brian Jupiter, Frontier
Zoe Schor, Ada Street
Guillermo Tellez, Mercadito Hospitality
Aaron Thebault, Girl and the Goat
Tom Van Lente, TWO


Jose Garces, Mercat a la Planxa
Catherine DeOrio, WTTW's Check, Please!
Chandra Ram, Plate Magazine