The first-ever Cocina de las Americas, a one-day community event, will be held on the grounds of the Pearl, 312 Pearl Parkway, on March 14. Chefs will vie for a prize, competing Iron Chef style, to make the best Spanish Paella, the country’s famous rice dish. H-E-B/Central Market are presenting sponsors of this community event, in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America. Co-chairs of the event are Chef Johnny Hernandez of True Flavors and Dya Campos, Director of Public Affairs for H-E-B. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and New World Wine and Food Festival also are supporting and promoting the event. The public is invited to enjoy live entertainment and sampling of food from Spain, including sangria, Spanish hams and cheeses and an array of tapas, or Spanish small plates, prepared by CIA San Antonio students. All food and beverage stations will be located in the Fountain Plaza. Live entertainment will be in the Main Stage Train area. Chefs will compete with a full pantry of ingredients while guests can watch the cooking action in full swing. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward scholarship opportunities to the CIA San Antonio to benefit local chefs. A portion of proceeds will also go to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Office of the Honorary Council to Spain for educational initiatives benefiting San Antonio students. Admission to the festival is $40. Doors open to the public at 11 a.m., judging is at 1:45 p.m. and the event ends at about 4 p.m. Tickets are $40; $20 ages 21 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at nwwff.frontgatetickets.com and www.ciacocinadelasamericas.com.