Norman Van Aken
Norman Van Aken has been described as ‘legendary, visionary and a trailblazer’ as well as ‘the culinary Titan of Florida.’ He is “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world.
He is an internationally acclaimed author. His newest book is a memoir titled, “No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken”, (Taylor Trade Publishing). The book has been praised by many including Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Jeremiah Tower, Wolfgang Puck and the late, great Charlie Trotter. The book was also nominated for the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Award.
He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.” His restaurant “NORMAN’S” was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America”. He has been a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America”.
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 Fusión’ event. In 2014 Chef Van Aken was presented the AIG Grand Prix Gastronomic Culture Prize to Norman Van Aken. He was the first American to receive the honor. René Redzepi of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen won in his country.
Norman Van Aken has published five cookbooks: Feast of Sunlight 1988, The Exotic Fruit Book 1995, Norman’s New World Cuisine 1997, New World Kitchen 2003 and My Key West Kitchen 2012, (with Justin Van Aken)
His radio show, “A Word on Food,” appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN
He has appeared on Television from CNN to Emeril to Jimmy Kimmel Live.
He is the Chef and Founder of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.”
“Before the celebrity chef craze and before the start of Food Network, Norman Van Aken was starting a revolution. He was doing something unheard of at the time, taking local ethnic flavors, merging them together at restaurants where he worked.”
“Norman Van Aken is the Walt Whitman of American Cuisine”
— Charlie Trotter
“Before the celebrity chef craze and before the start of Food Network, Norman Van Aken was starting a revolution. He was doing something unheard of at the time, taking local ethnic flavors, merging them together at restaurants where he worked”.
—- Smithsonian Magazine
“Norman Van Aken, the influential Florida chef whose “New World Cuisine” serves as a kind of encyclopedia of cooking from the Caribbean basin”
— The New York Times, Sam Sifton