Paella, Tapas and Flamenco at SOPAC’s ‘Savor the Arts – El Segundo Plato’ April 29

From the South Orange Performing Arts Center:

A crescendo of Spanish romance will soon descend upon the Loft at SOPAC On Monday, April 29 from 6:30-9:30PM. Garden State KitchenBenjamin “Ben” Garrison of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and Edible Jersey will host Savor the Arts – El Segundo Plato. Several of NJ’s finest Latin food and beverage purveyors will be on hand to share their wares.

Chef Angel Leston (of Casa d’Paco in Newark) will host the opening tapas. International paella champions  Paco Rodiño-Vives and Manolo Rey  and their entourage will then deliver a second course to Savor guests in a traditional Valencia paella procession. Patrons can expect to learn some closely guarded and award-winning paella secrets. Antonia “Toni” Messina and Ivan Max of Viva Flamenco will serve up a taste of flamenco and Spanish guitar to add even more spice and romance to the evening – and a chance to take a flamenco turn on the dance floor!

Savor the Arts guests that can whip up a tasty homemade flan should try their hand at our first ever Flan Slam to be judged by our seasoned and well-traveled chefs. The winner will enjoy an award of two tickets to a SOPAC-presented event served up with local acclaim and Flan Slam bragging rights.

Chef Angel “Paco” Leston and his father, his hero

Foodies that crave Spanish epicurean delights can expect a robust menu: An irresistible tapas course of small bites– beef, fish and veggie empanadas, tortillas, and croquetas, accompanied by fresh anchovies, pimentos, olives, and jamon; Spanish queso and breads; and lovely ensalada greens. A second course of Traditional Valencian Paella featuring chicken, rabbit, Bomba rice, three beans, and rosemary; Fiduea (Pasta Paella) featuring seafood and fideos and Paella Verdura featuring porcini mushrooms, olives, peppers, Bomba rice, and pignola nuts. And no Spanish meal is complete without a complement of sweets and coffee. Each of these and other delectable menu items will be well paired with sangria, wine, and beer to cool that fired up Spanish palate.

Wine enthusiast Hank Zona returns to Savor to keep the evening – and the libations – flowing and to guide you through the pairings.

Inspired by his father who worked as a chef on a prestige fishing boat and his mother, an accomplished baker, Chef Angel Leston created Casa d’Paco, delivering exceptional fresh food never lacking in luster. From family harvested Albariño wine, to self-cured sausages and everything in between, Leston serves his patrons an original and delicious culinary experience – with old-school hospitality and raw, authentic food.

Chefs Frank “Paco” Rodino and Manolo “Manny” Rey with an award-winning paella entry

Chefs Frank “Paco” Rodiño of South Orange and Manolo “Manny” Rey of Cranford, are award-winning paella chefs, winning competitions in the US, competing on the world stage in Valencia, the birthplace of paella, and judging US and international paella competitions. They learned traditional Spanish paella cooking methods from their parents, aunts, and uncles. Teaming together for more than 5 years, they volunteer as skilled paella chefs for Spanish food exhibitions and to help raise funds for non-profits like the New Jersey Audubon Society.

Antonia “Toni” Messina and guitarist Ivan Max hail from Viva FlamencoViva Flamenco is a New Jersey based flamenco company performing Flamenco and fusion Flamenco Jazz at theaters, festivals, restaurants, clubs and private parties throughout the North East.

Patrons are encouraged to buy tickets early to this exciting culinary event as the seating is limited. SOPAC’s third floor Loft is enhanced by a soaring ceiling and windows that display a stunning view of the skyline. Savor the Arts – El Segundo Plato is sure to be the culinary talk of the spring season. Tickets are $70 and are on sale now. They can be purchased at or by calling the box office at (973) 313-2787.

About the Sponsors

Garden State Kitchen is a kitchen incubator that provides an ecosystem of support services for culinary entrepreneurs. They rent commercial kitchen space by the hour, store dry/cold/frozen goods, host events and cooking classes, and so much more. Members use the facility as a home-base for their food businesses.

Benjamin “Ben” Garrison is a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage real estate agent serving Maplewood, NJ and the surrounding areas. His people skills, determination, and dedication to service help his clients achieve their real estate goals. His fifteen years working in the music world make him a perfect match for SOPAC, and Savor.

Edible Jersey tells the story of food, from source to table. Published bi-monthly (six times per year), they spotlight the growers, producers, retailers, artisans, chefs, home cooks, and others who energize the community with authentic, regionally-based food choices.

Where: South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange  NJ 07079

Tickets:  $ 70 contact SOPAC at (973) 313-2787 or visit

Media Contact: Dee Billia, or (973) 382-1031