The winner of World Paella Day competition, Japan's Kohei Hatashita. LP
Japanese chef wins World Paella Day competition in Valencia, home of Spain's national dish

Japanese chef wins World Paella Day competition in Valencia, home of Spain's national dish

Kohei Hatashita's rice dish - featuring duck, orange and leek - finally won over the jury

María José Carchano


Sunday, 24 September 2023


A Japanese chef has come out on top with the winning dish at a World Paella Day competition in Valencia on Wednesday, 20 September.

Among the ingredients in the wide variety of different paella presented were Transylvanian black truffle, pork rinds, coconut milk, pastrami, Andean potatoes, figs and foie gras. But the winning paella, that of Japanese representative Kohei Hatashita, featured duck, orange and leek.

Valencia mayor María José Catalá said: "Today is the only day that Valencians willingly accept not to follow the traditional paella recipe, but we will continue to teach the traditional recipe, the one that corresponds to us." The traditional Valenciana paella includes chicken, rabbit, lima beans.

But beyond the debate on what constitutes the perfect paella, World Paella Day, in its fourth year, is a time to admire the different variations. Contestants are cheered on at town hall square as they cook, in a race against the clock.

But it was not an easy decision for the jury, made up of professionals from the sector, as well as personalities.

"I will never forget this day," said the Japanese representative Hatashita speaking after getting his hands on the trophy. He has been the winner of the international paella competition in Japan for the past two years.

Second place went to Ecuador, represented by Cristian Arroba, and in third place, Colombian Arturo Bedregal.

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