It’s such a great time down at the farmers’ markets in Naples and Marco Island each week, and Fire & Rice is right in the middle of the action. As you enjoy the fun, excitement, and, of course, the paella, have you ever wondered how it all got started?
How Fire & Rice - Naples’ Original Paella! Came to Be
More than two decades ago, Chef Paul Schmidgall, founder of the Fire & Rice franchise and owner of the Naples’ location, was stationed in Europe with the US military and visited a small island off the coast of Spain called Menorca. There, he watched an elderly woman prepare paella on Sunday afternoons and became fascinated with the process.
Though he didn’t speak Spanish, and she didn’t speak English, she engaged him in the paella preparation and demonstrated each step of the process, passing her tradition onto the next generation. Chef Paul learned how to clean the fish, prawns, and shellfish, and the woman demonstrated how to cook the paella in a large shallow pan, fusing the delicate flavors together with saffron and Bomba rice.
Chef Paul knew then and there that he had learned something special and decided to bring the paella concept to the US. A few years later, with a culinary degree, an MBA, and two military tours under his belt, he established Fire & Rice and opened the original location here in Naples, where residents and visitors have been enjoying the interactive paella experience ever since.
The concept that started at the farmers’ markets and is now a Naples’ tradition, has spread like wildfire to private parties, events, and the LPGA and PGA tour. Because of the success here in Naples, you can now enjoy award-winning paella at multiple Fire & Rice locations throughout the country.
But don’t be fooled by imitators! There are actually people here in Naples who are pretending to be us, and we don’t want you to be disappointed. When responding to an online ad or visiting the farmers’ markets, just make sure you’re dealing with Fire & Rice. If there’s any kind of run around, it’s not us!
If you’re in the Naples Area and would like to enjoy original paella from Fire & Rice, an interactive communal dining experience, at your next party or event, call us at 239-269-8857 or book your party online. We look forward to sharing Naples original paella with you!