Óscar, the tripe expert who makes better paella in Madrid than the Valencians: this is his secret

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It was the year 1960 when Gabino de la Fuente decided to open a small tavern in the municipality of Guadarrama, located in the Sierra de la Madrid’s community. At that time, Gabino did not imagine that his grandchildren would be able to elaborate the best Valencian paella in the world. A success that they have achieved this past Sunday by defeating 40 chefs and opponents from all over the world in the International Valencian Paella Competition, held in the town of Swedish.

“Winning the world championship of paella, especially to the Valencian chefs, it is something unusual because it is one of their most traditional dishes ”, he expresses, with pride, Oscar de la Fuente (Guadarrama, 1971), one of the hotelier brothers who currently run the restaurant The Madrileño. That tavern that his grandfather built has become, after Age 61 of history, in one of the most important hotel establishments in Guadarrama. And more now, after the paella that he cooked Oscar with his friend Javier Fernandez was named the best on the planet.

The MadrileñoHowever, it has never been a restaurant with a paella tradition, since the specialties of the house are “the ears, the Madrid-style tripe, the pig’s trotters or the bull’s tail”, according to Oscar de la Fuente. Something that, in fact, makes sense because the products and dishes that reign in its menu are from the area. They are proximity. “My grandfather Gabino and my grandmother started cooking all kinds of tapas in the tavern, but it was my parents, Valentine and Juana, who increased the fame of The Madrileño thanks to the preparation of traditional and homemade food ”, explains his son Oscar in conversation with EL ESPAÑOL.

The Valencian paella from El Madrileño, decorated as the best in the world.

The Valencian paella from El Madrileño, decorated as the best in the world.


In other words, since 1970 the parents of Oscar and of Ruben de la Fuente (Guadarrama, 1974) were in charge of putting The Madrileño on the gastronomic map of the sierra de Madrid. Now, its two offspring are the ones who run the business and the worm of the paella I peak a Oscar on 2011, as a result of a circumstance, if possible, something fortuitous: “A friend called me who is a chef in a restaurant in Such, Japan, and asked me to go represent them to the contest of Swedish —Which this year has celebrated its 60 + 1 edition-. It was then that Javier Fernandez and I went for first time. We did not expect it to be something so big and with such international repercussion “, recalls the hotelier Oscar.

Learning about paella

It was in that year, in 2011, when Oscar de La Fuente and Javier Fernandez they won the paella contest for the first time. A milestone that they have managed to repeat 10 years later, but with much more experience. “We have participated in several international competitions in Swedish2015, 2016, 2018– and in each of them we have tried to learn from the best Valencian chefs, who are the ones who best know how to make their dish, which is more complex than it seems “, explains the hotelier in charge of The Madrileño.

– Why is making the authentic Valencian paella difficult?

—Because, to begin with, we have to cook the paella with orange wood. And, in addition, we have to use all the native ingredients that they provide us, such as rabbit, chicken, green beans or snails. And, obviously, we do it all in paella, which is how Valencians call the paellera. After many years learning and improving Valencian paella, we have achieved something that makes us proud: winning the contest.

Javier Fernández and Óscar de la Fuente, receiving the diploma for making the best Valencian paella in the world.

Javier Fernández and Óscar de la Fuente, receiving the diploma for making the best Valencian paella in the world.


This pride that explains Oscar, who especially remembers and honors his deceased father, Valentine, it is not at all minor. In this year’s edition of the International Valencian Paella Competition, the 60+1, have participated 40 chefs, of which 10 came from other countries like Mexico, Italy, Peru, Uruguay O USA. And, of all of them, The Madrileño rose with the gold medal winning an award of 2.500 euros.

Near the Valencian paella of Oscar de la Fuente and Javier Fernandez those of Pepi takeaway rice, a restaurant located in the Valencian municipality of Alcázar, with 1.500 euros of award; and the restaurant Tabick Lounge-Rice and Embers, also in Valencia, who took home a diploma certifying their third position in the contest and a prize of 1.000 euros.

In any case, it was the jury of the contest that valued the paella of The Madrileño as the best in the world for its doneness, its flavor, its color, the good placement of the ingredients and the point of the socarrat. It should be noted, in this regard, that all competitors used the same products to make the competition as fair as possible. These are: Sueca rice, snails, garrofó, tavella, ferradura, ripe tomato, garlic, saffron, special chickens, rabbit, oil, salt and water.

Los De La Fuente, in the kitchen

Despite this and, as has been pointed out, the curious of this restaurant victory The Madrileño and of the De la Fuente family is that they have never been a restaurant specializing in paellas and rice. So much that Oscar he asks consumers for “patience”, since the best paella in the world is not usually on the menu “except when it is prepared for the menu”.

Javier Fernández, one of the chefs at El Madrileño, preparing the paella.

Javier Fernández, one of the chefs at El Madrileño, preparing the paella.


“Now we have to organize ourselves and change our infrastructure so that no customer is left without trying the paella,” explains the hotelier, who acknowledges that, for now, it is priceless because they are just studying to introduce the laureate Valencian paella in the letter of The Madrileño. Even so, Oscar wanted to take advantage of this victory to value the work of his family and the entire team that makes up the successful restaurant of Guadarrama.

—Oscar, you and your brother represent the third generation at the helm of El Madrileño. Would you like your children to inherit the business and the family legacy?

“I’ve been in hospitality my whole life and it’s a tough and stressful business.” It would be nice if the fourth generation, like my daughter, continued with the restaurant, but being such a tough business, I want her to study and dedicate herself to whatever she wants.

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