Paella at Bielina’s

After winning the Miss Venezuela and Miss South America pageants, Carmen Maria Montiel was named second runner-up at the 1984 Miss Universe Pageant. When she returned home, she resumed her budding television career and continued her education. She soon returned to the US to study broadcasting and Spanish at East Tennessee State University, graduating magna cum laude. She embarked upon an award-winning broadcasting career in Texas, where she was an award-winning journalist for Telemundo Houston. Carmen Maria Montiel is an enthusiastic member of Houston’s Venezuelan community, and recently emceed a celebration of the fifth anniversary of Bielina’s Catering.

Located in the Houston suburb of Katy, Bielina’s Catering and Services provides catering services to clients throughout the entire Houston-Sugar Land-Woodlands area. Run by Venezuelan natives Frank Valbuena and Bielitski Prada, Bielina’s caters events at clients’ sites as well as at its own banquet facility. The company provides not only Venezuelan food, but also many fusion, international, and artisanal dishes.

One of Bielina’s specialties is paella, prepared presentation-style at guest tables by Chef Prada. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish whose main ingredient is a delicious saffron rice which is then mixed with a variety of additional ingredients. In addition to a traditional seafood paella featuring lobster, clams, mussels, shrimps, scallops, and squid, Bielina’s serves several other varieties, including the house specialty Paella Prada and a vegetarian paella that features several different peppers, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, peas, and other vegetables. Other paellas on the menu are green paella, which features chicken, pork, Spanish chorizo, clams, and vegetables, and Paella Valenciana, which combines seafood with chicken, Spanish chorizo, and vegetables.


Virtuosi of Houston

Carmen Maria Montiel head shot


Carmen Maria Montiel earned praise from her peers and industry awards for her work as a journalist for the Spanish-language television station Telemundo Houston. Before becoming a professional journalist, she won the Miss Venezuela and Miss South America titles in 1984 and was second runner-up in that year’s Miss Universe Pageant. Carmen Maria Montiel donates a great deal of her time and expertise to a broad range of cultural and philanthropic activities, including the Miss Houston pageant, UNICEF, and Virtuosi of Houston.

A premier young artists chamber orchestra, Virtuosi of Houston was established in 1996 to expand the opportunities for gifted musicians in the 11- to 18-year-old age range to receive professional-level training and participate in meaningful public performances. At the same time, it significantly expanded the repertoire of chamber music available to Houston audiences.

Because Virtuosi of Houston is a chamber orchestra of 50 to 60 musicians (significantly smaller than a symphony orchestra or high school band), its members have the opportunity for more focused instruction and training. The smaller orchestra size also helps the musicians build confidence and leadership, as well as performance skills that might not develop so well in a larger orchestra.

The orchestra performs publicly three times during the season. During the five weeks prior to each concert, there are 10 rehearsals. At each rehearsal, one of the orchestra’s two maestros conducts the music, while the other works with individual musicians, helping them to perfect their technique on the various instruments they play.

Auditions for Virtuosi of Houston are held in the spring and fall of each year. More information about how to become a member, as well as more information about Virtuosi of Houston, is available on its website at