Your Ah Haa Moment: Paellas & Tapas

Father (Johnny Gerona) and daughter (Emma) of The Village Table

Father (Johnny Gerona) and daughter (Emma) of The Village Table

Beret or toque. Makes no never mind. Painting or food prep and wine tasting. It’s all about art.

Johnny Gerona heads up a list of chefs and sommeliers offering a series of tempting cooking classes and wine tastings throughout the summer through Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts. All food classes will take place in Johnny’s sun-soaked professional kitchen at his new Mountain Village restaurant, The Village Table. Classes start Tuesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., when Johnny himself teaches “Traditional Spanish Cuisine: Paellas and Tapas.” (Sign up now. Maximum capacity is only 12 students.)

The course description touts the following.

“Learn the secret to high-altitude paella cooking, a famous Valencian rice dish cooked in a large, shallow round steel pan with handles, and spiked with saffron and olive oil. The exploration of traditional Spanish cuisine continues with tapas – small plates of food, or snacks. The tapas menu will likely include crunchy potatoes “bravas” with Spanish pimento sauce; Spanish tomato bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil; and salt cod croquettes made with potatoes and other ingredients for a myriad of flavors. Add to that a simple salad made with a classic Spanish sherry vinaigrette, plus wines from four different regions of Spain, and students will attain a good understanding of authentic Spanish gastronomy.”

Johnny Gerona was born Switzerland and raised in New York City. He starting cooking pasta at age four. Hugely influenced in the kitchen by his Italian mother and Spanish father, Johnny was inspired to spend time working in his parents’ home countries, as well as in France. He studied cooking at the French Culinary Institute in New York, and did his apprenticeship with Chef Ann Rozensweig at New York’s Arcadia Restaurant, going on to work at many more of that city’s fine restaurants before moving to Telluride in 1987.

In Telluride, Johnny worked as the chef at one of the town’s most popular eateries, La Marmotte, from 1987 until 1990. He went on to become the owner and operator of Bread and Roses Catering and Pacific Street Market. Johnny Gerona most recent business venture is the aforementioned Village Table, which opened its doors this spring with crowds waiting at the door. (The restaurant is right near the front door of the Telluride Conference Center. Walk out and look left across the plaza.)

Picture perfect paella at The Village Table

Picture perfect paella at The Village Table

“My new restaurant is an expression of my culinary knowledge and in a very real sense, it is my ‘portfolio’ as an artist. Many hands are needed to make a venture like this one go, but I enjoy teaching new employees the tricks of the trade. Ultimately it comes down to lots of hard work and many hours of dedicated focus. I have spent most my life working with and around food and love it. Every Wednesday, I can’t wait to read the New York Times’s Dining section.  Another thing I look forward to every day is working with local growers and farmers from our bountiful region.”

And Johnny looks forward to teaching you in his upcoming class and hosting all the other cooking classes you will enjoy this summer, thanks to Ah Haa.

For a list of upcoming food and wine courses, go here.

To learn more about Johnny Gerona’s class, click the “play” button.

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