Photo by Dee Proudfoot

For the fourth season Salem’s own, David Fox, brings Paella Del Zorro to the Saturday Market food court section. If you don’t know where that is, just follow your nose! The spice blends, fresh vegetables, and choice selections of meat can’t be missed wafting through the open-air setting. And for the non-meat eaters, don’t worry because Paella Del Zorro also offers a scrumptious, hearty vegan paella, as well.

David says that it has taken him 17 years to master his craft of fresh made paella. He began the long road of experience, initially, by taking the traditional Valencian approach and built a fire pit in his backyard. Cooking over wood fed flames affords control of heat intensity by adding or removing wood. However, for Fox, the true inspiration and drive to continue making paella was understanding the nuances of the dish that require experience to develop. “You use your sense of hearing to listen to the crackle or the boil, you’re using your sense of smell so you know when and how to adjust the heat, and you are using your vision. So, you’re using all your senses to understand what’s really going on in the pan, and that’s kind of exciting because you’re establishing a relationship with your food!”

The saying goes that there are as many variations of paella as there are paella chefs. The real breakthrough for Fox’s unique style of paella came a few years back when he created the special blend of spices that has since become a mainstay in his delicious dish. “It’s easy to make a paella that’s impressive and beautiful to the eye, but it is not easy to make a paella that tastes wonderful.” Fox was on a quest to unite the visual presentation with an amazing flavor profile, which is no easy task. The day before cooking, Fox grinds the spices into a powder so the aromatics are fresh. He found that his spice blend was what was needed to create a consistently deep flavor to his paella.

There’s also an altruistic side of Paella Del Zorro that our community will soon be able to enjoy. Home stovetop paella kits will be available for purchase, complete with David Fox’s proprietary spice blend and paella recipe. “I’m a lifelong learner and it encourages me if I can encourage someone else to find the joy of cooking and building a relationship with their food. Paella is a good way to do that” Fox says.   

This year Paella Del Zorro will not only be found at the Saturday Market, but additionally at the Salem Art Fair & Festival, World Beat Festival, and the Silverton Fine Arts Festival. Should you happen to attend any of these local events, grab a bowl of fresh paella and don’t forget Del Zorro’s homemade habanero hot sauce! Ole’!