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Pinot and Paella Festival awards proceeds to youth arts center 

youth arts center donation

Photo provided by the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center featuring: urban dance, culinary arts, beginning piano and drawing students, Windward Vineyard owners Marc Goldberg and Maggie d’Ambrosia, Justin Goldberg, Lou Greenberg, Emily Jagger, Linda Smith, Chef Trish Jacobs of Paso Catering (center with her winning Paella pan) youth arts board members Pat Bland, Sue Benitez, and Anne Flores, youth arts instructors and staff Kunchang Lee, Kathryn Teale, Margie Peau, Emily Jagger and others.

Donation facilitates more no-cost arts opportunities for local youth

– The Paso Pinot Producers, now formally The Beaune Rangers of Paso Robles, announced this week that the 17th annual Paso Pinot and Paella Festival proceeds were awarded to the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center. The organization received a major gift of $40,000 from the 2022 event proceeds. The grand return of this special event was attended by more than 500 pinot and paella lovers, along with 21 pinot producers and 14 paella chefs. The event was held on June 5 at Templeton Community Park in Templeton.

The 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 Stan Hoffman of Hoffman Mountain Ranch to the present-day count of 20 plus Pinot Noir Producers. Since the first Paso Pinot and Paella event 17 years ago at Windward Vineyard, more than $500,000 has been given to local youth arts.

All wineries donate their wine, and many chefs donate their time and ingredients for this charity event.

“The youth arts is so grateful to everyone who helped make this year’s event a rousing success, either by enjoying the wonderful paellas created by the talented chefs, tasting the fabulous wines by our local pinot producers or by lending their talents as a volunteer,” said Emily Jagger, development director at the youth arts center. “It takes a community to make the major impact that the Paso Pinot and Paella Festival makes. It is because of this community, our donors’ gifts of time, energy, and of course, funds, that we can do the work that we do for young artists and performers. For the last 17 years, the festival has brought recognition to the pinot producers in the area and has celebrated the perfect food and wine pairing with its annual paella competition! It’s delicious and delicate work over a hot fire, but it all simmered up beautifully. Thank you to all for creating free arts education opportunities for local youth!”

This year 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, author, and wine journalist Mira Honeycutt, and novelist Randy Rogers. While there were many creative versions of paella representations, the judges’ final decision was the following:

First prize – 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.

Second prize – Chef Andre Averseng of Pasoterra for his traditional seafood paella from Spain’s east coast, loaded with mussels, shrimp, squid, scallops, fish, and lots of saffron.

Third prize – Benjamin Drahos, Chef de Cuisine of Ristorante Cello at Allegretto Vineyard Resort. His untraditional paella of bomba rice cradled rock shrimp, Iberio chorizo and chicken thighs with roasted tomatoes and oregano, Espelette and Aleppo peppers, house-cured olives, English peas and roasted bell peppers with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Chef Jeffry Wiesinger, owner of the popular Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ won the People’s Choice award for the fifth time this year. His winning dish this year called Jeffry’s Paso Paella was made with California Calrose rice instead of bomba rice), smoked chicken, and linguine sausage, topped with sautéed shrimp, Spanish chorizo, and two sauces: arugula and pesto and Dijon aioli. Wiesinger also made a vegetarian option with soy chorizo and tofu smoked for four hours.

About the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center

The Paso Robles Youth Arts Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by artist and philanthropist, Donna Berg. Her vision was to provide all children in Paso Robles and surrounding areas a safe place to learn about and participate in the arts, regardless of their socio-economic status.

The center has provided children ages 5 to 18 with free classes in the visual and performing arts for 23 years. In full operation, it offers 50+ classes per week, fills approximately 3,000 student seats, and serves 700 individual students per year. They rely entirely on donations, private and public funding, grants, and scholarships. For information regarding donating, volunteering, attending performances, fundraisers, or classes, call (805) 238-5825 or visit

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at