A grandmother from the northern Spanish region of Asturias recently came up with a chorizo hamburger for McDonald’s, and now British chef Jamie Oliver has used the same ingredient to create his own version of paella, a classic dish from the Valencia region.
On Tuesday morning, Oliver shared his creation on his Twitter account. It was just one of the many messages he regularly posts on social media, but this particular one quickly filled up with replies, mostly from indignant Spaniards who feel that Oliver has been disrespectful of Spain’s gastronomic traditions.
But other people figured that if the media-savvy chef can get creative with Spanish food, they can get creative about their answers as well. Thousands of replies have made Jamie Oliver a trending topic in Spain after his paella elicited comparisons to artworks and even to Spanish politics.
One user compared Oliver’s paella with a botched restoration of a religious painting in northern Spain that attracted world headlines in 2012.
Others came up with their own ridiculous “paellas” and told Oliver: “Hope you like it.”
Yet others made puns on the word chorizo, which can also mean “crook” in Spanish, and tied it in with the fact that the Valencia region was long ruled by the Popular Party, many of whose regional officials are being investigated for corruption.
Criticáis a Jamie Oliver, pero el PP también le echa chorizos a todo y tiene ocho millones de votos.— Anacleto Panceto (@Xuxipc) October 4, 2016
[You criticize Jamie Oliver, but the PP also adds chorizos to everything and they have 8 million votes.]
En Valencia hay más tolerancia por la corrupción que por una paella mal hecha por Jamie Oliver— J watt (@cletus_val) October 4, 2016
[In Valencia there is more tolerance for corruption than for a badly made paella by Jamie Oliver.]
One particularly inspired user created a paella with the semblance of Rita Barberá, the former mayor of Valencia, who is currently the target of a graft probe.
But there is safety in numbers, and Oliver should know that he is by no means the only foreign chef to have massacred a Spanish dish. Here are a few more salient examples.
English version by Susana Urra.