(a very BIG pan)
BY JOHN GROSSMANN
PHOTO: ERIC ZEPEDA, ERICZEPEDA.COM; PHOTO STYLING: KEVIN CRAFTS, KEVINCRAFTS.NET
Gerard Nebesky, chef and former owner of the Bohemian Café in Occidental, has essentially cooked only one dish professionally for the last decade: paella, the beloved Spanish rice creation that varies from cook to cook but typically simmers a beguiling medley of seafood and chicken and vegetables.
Gerard, 48, cooks in pans as large as 10 feet across as many as 200 days a year at outdoor events and galas. He’s as much a regular at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park as singer Emmylou Harris. The last couple years he’s shipped his huge pans as far as Queens, New York, serving 1,800 at the World Maker Faire.
If there’s a Prince of Paella, it’s Gerard, who prevailed against star chef Bobby Flay in a televised paella throwdown in 2008.
Gerard endeared himself to me two years ago, tending two steaming paella pans in a vest pocket park in Calistoga. That night, he was cooking for 100 or so wedding rehearsal dinner guests that my wife and I were hosting as parents of the groom. Our son, Jeff, and daughter-in-law-to-be, Grace, … Read More