Chefs of Walnut Creek restaurant give tapas cooking demonstration at DVC


Ryan Lee

Chefs Oscar Cabezas (left) and Rodrigo Vazquez (right).

Ryan Lee, Staff member

Executive chefs of Teleferic Barcelona, located in downtown Walnut Creek, cooked tapas for members of the community at Diablo Valley College. Oscar Cabezas and Rodrigo Vazquez both studied and worked all over Spain throughout their careers.

The cooking demonstration which was sponsored by Community Education, gave background knowledge and history of the ingredients used in the dishes. Chef Vazquez demonstrated all the techniques and skills to cook the dishes.

The dishes made included a paella, which is a dish of bomba rice and different meats and vegetables, a tortilla de patata, which is similar to an omelette with potatoes and onions and a gamba al ajillo, which are garlic prawns.

During the three hour long demonstration, different sauces and roasted meats were used to create three cohesive dishes. The audience was shown the size of shrimps that work best for the dish and taught how to peel the shells. They also learned how to create a stock consisting of shrimp shells, thyme, leeks, garlic, onions and tomatoes with sweet Spanish paprika, that would be used in the paella.

Cabezas said that they wanted to make all the sauces fresh so that it would be easier for everyone to take notes and recreate them at home.

Vazquez showed how to cook the paella saying that all the ingredients needed to be added at different times so that they would not be overcooked. At the end of the demo everyone lined up to try the dishes.

Denise Lawry, a member of the audience said the experience was “beyond my expectation and combinations of cultures.” 

Chef Vazquez has been cooking his whole life and his earliest childhood memories are of him cleaning anchovies and squids. During his 10 year career he has worked in many Spanish restaurants all over Spain, learning the local traditions. Vazquez worked in a three Michelin star restaurant, a rating given to the best restaurants in the world. It is very hard to obtain all three stars as restaurants are inspected anonymously on everything including decor, plating and taste.

“I enjoy teaching because it is a passion of mine,” Vazquez said, as this is not the first cooking demonstration he has done.

Chef Cabezas has been working in restaurants for over 15 years and has explored many cultures throughout the Mediterranean. He has always had a love for food and has never been afraid to try new cuisines. He has been working in the United States for almost three years and frequently travels back to Spain.

“Food is a way to express myself,” he said.