Paella Catering: Guide to Menu, Prices And More

Paella is a wonderful Spanish culinary experience for small to large parties, corporate events and private functions.

The best specialist caterers serve up authentic, mouth-watering paella, with quality ingredients, fresh produce and secret recipes. The result is a dish that is not dry, but deliciously moist, and with a great balance of protein to rice.

Why Paella?

Paella is an increasingly popular customer choice for social events and gatherings.

Delicious, fresh, healthy it is also entertaining to watch as it is being cooked. It can add some theatre to your event and is often presented in a charming, rustic style. It is an impressive visual treat to see this amazing dish come to life before your eyes in quantities that can satisfy up to 500 guests.

Paella catering at an event can be a great talking point and ice breaker as it has spectacular colours, a great aroma and huge pans full of the freshest ingredients bubbling away.

The best Spanish paellas always contain premium, quality ingredients with a generous ratio of protein to rice. You can choose from a wide variety of dishes, including seafood, meat, vegetarian and vegan.

Most paella caterers will be happy to cater for guests with specific dietary requirements.

Many caterers will also serve a range of gourmet Spanish tapas dishes as starters to complement their paella catering. Conveniently, Spanish tapas-style bites are perfect for catering finger food or canapes events.

If you have a passion for rice dishes, see our Easy Rice Recipes

Events Suitable For Paella Catering

Paella is often catered for the following events: Christenings and baptisms, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, openings, hens lunch, Christmas parties, Melbourne Cup lunches, book launches, wakes and corporate events.

Paella is suitable for any occasion and loved by all ages.

Do you like the sound of finger food for your event, but need a bit of guidance? See our post on Finger Food Catering.

How Many Guests Can Paella Cater For?

As with most types of event catering as the numbers of diners increase, the price per head decreases (think somewhere between $25 – $35 per head, depending on the number of guests and the inclusions eg sangria, salads, tapas, etc)

Most caterers will have a minimum charge for smaller groups of up to ten people.

The biggest caterers are equipped and experienced to offer paella catering for large groups up to 500+ people.

Most catering services own many sizes of paella pans, and will bring along to your event the appropriate size of pan, depending on the number of people you will be catering for.

The largest pans will hold 250 portions of paella! It is a sight to behold.

Seafood paella - paella catering

Paella Cooking For Allergies

Most caterers will inform you that their paellas are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, mushrooms, alcohol and soy.

In our experience, most are happy to provide smaller vegetarian (also vegan) paellas in addition to the main paella (maximum of 10 portions or this may incur an additional cost).

Most caterers will also happily provide a smaller chicken and chorizo paella (meat only), if required, for those allergic to, or not wanting shellfish  (maximum of 10 portions or this may incur an additional cost).

Are you gluten intolerant and looking for some great desserts to try? Check out our Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

Styles of Paella

Chicken, chorizo, prawn & mussels (Meat & seafood)

The traditional Spanish and most popular paella includes a combination of chicken, chorizo, bacon, vegetables, rice, spices, mussels and prawns. This is the paella which is served at 90% of events.

Chicken & chorizo (Meat only, no seafood)

For guests who don’t eat, or are allergic to seafood, the paella caterer will remove the required number of portions from the main paella (towards the end of the cooking, just before the prawns and mussels are added) and then continue to cook this separately.

Fish & seafood (No meat)

Most caterers also offer a separate paella, in the region of an extra $5 pp and a minimum of 20 portions.

Looking to get more seafood into your diet? Why not try some of our Easy Seafood Recipes?

Vegetarian (No meat or seafood also vegan)

Similarly, most caterers offer a vegetarian paella option.  This paella can also be vegan (i.e no dairy or egg – generally at no additional cost).

What is served with Paellas?

You will most likely be offered: Wedges of lemon, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) which is also gluten & dairy free, crusty bread and a dressed, mixed, green leaf salad.

Setting Up Paella Catering At Your Venue

Usually, the chef will usually arrive two hours prior to your serving time to set up when catering your paella party. 

They will likely bring all the equipment along to your venue to cook the paella, including trestle tables. Luckily, the paella pans usually sit on their own gas burners, so they don’t require your electricity to cook the paella.

However, a flat, level surface, covered and protected from the elements wind, rain and sun is required.  Lighting will also be required, if there is to be cooking and serving in the evening or at night. 

Paella is often cooked inside, especially in winter.  Therefore, the kitchen bench is often an ideal place to cook the paella, and the caterer should bring protective hotplates in this instance

On fine, dry days with no chance of rain, the paella caterer will often cook outside. However, it’s always wise to have a plan B in case of inclement weather on the day.

After the preliminary phone call (should there still exist doubt or confusion about the suitability of a location for paella cooking) many catering companies will arrange to conduct a site visit to discuss the set up of your event. This is usually arranged in the week leading up to the event.

Are you about to get married? Wondering what to do about the Wedding Catering? See our post for advice.

What Is Provided By Paella Caterers

For an additional charge (often $1 per person), the paella caterer can supply disposable palm leaf plates, wooden forks & napkins which are all biodegradable.

We recommend ordering palm leaf plates, as they are substantial and don’t conduct the heat like bamboo, plastic or cardboard.  If you choose this option you should also provide bins for people to dispose of them easily.

Costings will generally not include linen, crockery, cutlery, glassware, beverages, collecting or washing up of plates and cutlery. However, most caterers will provide tables to set up the paella, unless you have one in situ or a kitchen bench that you prefer to use.

Also, expect the caterer to provide a chef and assistant (or assistants depending on numbers) to cook and serve the paella from the pan buffet style.

Cooking time is approximately 45-55 mins

Do you love a bit of drama with your dinner? Perhaps a Spit Roast Catering event could be just what you’re looking for.

Booking A Paella Party

The usual method of booking is to make an enquiry either by phone, website contact form, or via e-mail. It is best to provide a brief overview of your event with numbers, date and location. 

Most paella caterers will then send through to you the required information sheets with prices.

Many caterers do not publish their paella prices upfront on their website so as to prevent price shopping and a ‘race to the bottom’ in price cutting. The best paella caterers would rather focus on quality of product, service and reliability rather than fight it out on the lowest price.

If you would like to proceed with your event, the next stage is to hold the date with a deposit. Deposits are likely to be in the range of $500.

Deposits once paid are not transferable and not refundable as the catering group will hold that date for you and thereby refuse other bookings

Lastly, on receipt of the deposit the caterer will send out a booking confirmation to you

Final numbers, final details and balance of payment are generally due five full working days prior to the event. For example, you will be called on Monday for a Saturday event.

Most caterers accept Visa & Mastercard or you can make payment via EFT transfer. American Express will often attract a surcharge, and we’ve seen it as high as 3%. If a cheque is accepted it will likely need to be banked seven working days prior to an event.

Are you on the hunt for a reliable events caterer in Perth? See our piece on Miss Maud Catering

Recommended Paella Catering Services

Sydney Paella Catering

Food Stuff (particular for catering events around the Sydney Northern Beaches)

Paella Amor

Paella Show

Flavours of Spain

Tapas Market

Melbourne Paella Catering

The Paella Pan

Yum Catering

Simply Spanish

Elena’s Paella

Brisbane Paella Catering

Spanish Paella

Spanish Paella Man

Senor Paella

Pacos Paella

Perth Paella Catering

Kamal’s Quarter

Mr Paella Perth

The Spanish Casa

Adelaide Paella Catering

Adelaide Paella

Paella Catering

The Paella Man

Paelleria

Dylan Cole
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