Small Business Spotlight
Chef Noelia “Noe” Murias came to America to spread the best of her native Basque cuisine to her new home. And cooking for thousands is what she’s been doing ever since, running her Paella Lifestyle that brings Basque-style food to crowds across the San Diego County region.
“My goal is to share my culture, and central to my culture is the wonderful food that we are so famous for,” said Murias. She is a native of Bilboa, the port city in the heart of the region between northern Spain and France that has been home to the Basque culture for centuries.
Since 2014, Murias has been owner and operator of Paella Lifestyle in San Diego, catering for groups that include the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Under the federal program governing transit agencies, with the guidance of the Airport Authority Small Business program outreach programs, she has become a certified business under the ACDBE Program -- Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.
The Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport (SAN), has been providing these concession opportunities to local small businesses since in 2003. Across the country, airports look to SAN as a model for engaging small and local businesses and in the ACDBE program. The Airport Authority achieved a record 24% of ACDBE participation of total concessionaires in the 2018 fiscal year.
Murias’ cooking focuses on fresh seafood and produce such as those ingredients central to the iconic dish paella, the slow-cooked rice-based dish, and the healthy building blocks of the Mediterranean diet.
“My passion for gastronomy comes from my homeland,” said Murias. “Since my childhood, family and friends have reunited together around tables to prepare succulent dishes in harmony with folk music. Since then, my desire has been to enjoy these pleasures in the best company and in every corner of this world.”
Because travel is a culture experience, Murias enjoys appealing to people who love to travel to experience new flavors. Her menu features colorful food including the Basque version of Spanish tapas, the appetizer-sized “pinktxos,” pronounced “peen-ches.”
Her Paella Lifestyle food is featured at local farmers markets including La Jolla Open Aire Market, local breweries and wineries, as well as special events throughout the region.