Chef Norman Van Aken (Add his blog, facebook and twitter as is on our current webpage)
Legendary chef Norman Van Aken is known internationally as “the founding father of New World Cuisine”. This fusion of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors initially came into prominence in the mid-1980s, when Van Aken led a quartet of top South Florida chefs, referred to as the “Mango Gang,” and they placed South Florida’s New World Cuisine on the international culinary map. He is also known as the man who introduced the term “Fusion Cooking” to the world.
Van Aken’s list of distinctions and honors is lengthy. The chef is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious “James Beard list of ‘Who’s Who”. He was the winner of the prestigious James Beard Award, ‘Best Chef in the Southeast’ in 1997. In addition “NORMAN'S” of Coral Gables, Florida, was deemed “Best Restaurant in Florida” by The New York Times and one of “America’s Top Tables” by Gourmet magazine for four consecutive years.“NORMAN'S”was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation as “The Best Restaurant in America in its first year of eligibility. He was hailed as a “culinary genius” by Johnson and Wales University and given an honorary doctorate. In 2006 he was honored as one of the “Founders of the New American Cuisine,” alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme, and Mark Miller at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusion event. Chef Van Aken was the first chef in America to become a member of the James Beard Foundation’s Board of Trustees. His last task was fulfilling a request made by Susan Ungaro, president of the Foundation, to accept the Celebrated Culinarian Award posthumously for James Beard, from The American Culinary Federation. He was recently named to the James Beard Foundation’s National Advisory Board.
He oversees his acclaimed restaurant; NORMAN'S at the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, conducts culinary demos and seminars across the country and recently launched his own line of signature cookware on QVC.
He lives in Key West with his wife and soul mate Janet. They have one son, Justin who is also a Chef.
“NORMAN'S New World Kitchen,” 2003
“NORMAN'S New World Cuisine," Random House, 1997
"The Great Exotic Fruit Book and Posters," 1995
"A Feast of Sunlight", 1988
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