Paso pinot producers donate $40,000 to Paso Robles Youth Arts Center

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Pinot Producers, now known as “The Beaune Rangers of Paso Robles,” announced that the 18th Annual Paso Pinot & Paella Festival proceeds will be awarded to the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center, on Monday, June 26, at 4 p.m., 3201 Spring St., Paso Robles. PRYAC will be awarded $40,000 from the 2023 event proceeds. This year’s event was attended by more than 500 pinot noir and paella lovers, along with 27 Pinot Producers and 15 Paella chefs. 

The Paso Robles Pinot & Paella Festival is a celebration of the Paso Robles appellation’s pinot noir. Paso Robles local pinot noir has a storied history, growing from originally being planted in the early 1960s by Dr. Stan Hoffman of Hoffman Mountain Ranch to the present-day count of 20-plus pinot noir producers. Since the first Paso Pinot & Paella event 20 years ago at Windward Vineyard, more than $500,000 has been given to Paso Robles Youth Arts Center. 

All wineries donate their wine, and most of the chefs donate both their time and cost of ingredients for this event.

There was an official Judges’ Prize award and the People’s Choice award. The three judges, all local Paso residents, included cookbook author Brigit Binns, an accomplished food writer, cooking instructor and culinary personality; William S. Bloxsom-Carter, co-proprietor and chef at Canyon Villa in Paso Robles who also held a 30-year position as executive chef & food and beverage director at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles; and Pandee Pearson, who has been a professional chef for 36 years, heading up some of the Central Coast’s restaurants during her tenure. 

While there were many creative versions of paella represented, the judges’ final decision for first place was Chef Trish Jacobs of Paso Catering, for her Basque paella of Valencia rice layered with duck-four-ways, which included duck confit, fat, crackling, and sous-vide duck breast along with smoked leg of lamb, smoked chicken thighs, local J&R Meats’ chorizo, olives, green beans, peas, and roasted peppers.

First place for the People’s Choice award was Chef Jeffry Wiesinger, owner of Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ.