Traditionalists know that you don’t mess with a good thing. On Tuesday, Jamie Oliver published a recipe for his take on paella that made Spaniards see red on Twitter and adopt the hashtag #Paellagate.
The British celebrity chef broke a cardinal rule in his recipe – he added chorizo to the traditional dish that hails from the Valencia region and comprises meat, shellfish, vegetables and rice. Oliver’s addition of the distinctly-flavoured and seasoned sausage caused a stir among Spanish traditionalists who view the preparation of paella as sacrosanct.
Translation: Jamie Oliver’s addition of sausage in his paella recipe has provoked a
#Paellaexit controversy that requires the British leave the EU as soon as possible.
Translation: I always knew @jamieoliver didn’t know how to cook. Thanks for confirming it, Jamie! #Paellagate
WATCH: Make green paella with Chuck Hughes
While in Toronto on Tuesday promoting his new cookbook, Super Food Family Classics, Oliver defended his recipe to detractors: “Look, I think there’s so much evolution in recipes, whether it’s a risotto or paella or a classic. I mean, you know, if people try and say it’s a classic is that OK? Why is there one hundred recipes that are all slightly different?”
What it boils down to, says Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy, is terminology. “It is a sacred recipe that everyone has to stick to, to call it Paella,” he said to the Evening Standard. “Chorizo is not allowed, peppers are not allowed, onions are not allowed, even. He’s being criticised because he called it paella instead of ‘Spanish rice.'”
So what prompted Oliver to make this revolutionary adjustment to traditional paella? He says it was “whispered in my ear by a nonna.”
Someone ought to tell him that in Spain, they’re called abuela.