Norman Van Aken

Host, A Word On Food

Norman Van Aken has been described as legendary, visionary and a trailblazer. He is known as “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.

His new memoir, “No Experience Necessary” is published by Taylor Trade Publishing. The book has been praised by the likes of Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Monique Truong, Alan Richman (GQ Magazine), Jeremiah Tower, Wolfgang Puck and the late, great Charlie Trotter.

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.

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 is the chef and founder of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando.” 

Ways to Connect


Pork Belly

Nov 21, 2015


Norman Van Aken, © 2002

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds fresh pork belly, skinned and trimmed of all except ¾” layer of fat

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

Kosher salt, to taste

Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1 Tablespoon canola oil

½ Cup onion, diced

½ Cup celery, diced

Wok Cookery

Nov 14, 2015

Fish Head Soup

Nov 11, 2015


Norman Van Aken, © 2011

To make this into Fish Head Soup. Strain this and then cook fresh vegetables, chilies, herbs and potatoes as desired and top it with this stock. Garnish with one cooked well fish head if feeling sportyN.

Yield: 1 Gallon

5 pounds fish frames from non-oily fish (such as Snapper or Grouper)

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 ounces whole Butter

1 head of roughly chopped fennel, all parts included

3 washed and roughly chopped leeks


Nov 7, 2015


Oct 31, 2015


Janet & Norman Van Aken, © 2013

Yield: 3 + Cups

1 Cup buttermilk

1 3/4 Cups Sour cream

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons Champagne wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove minced

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces good blue cheese, well crumbled

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl or blend briefly.

Fish Cheeks

Oct 24, 2015


© 2015 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken


Kecap Manis is a type of sweet soy sauce condiment similar to American ketchupbut of course not the same exactly either. It can be used in a broad number of sauces, marinades etc. and worth having in your home pantry.

Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 habanero chile, stemmed and seeded

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons kecap manis


Oct 19, 2015


Norman Van Aken. Adapted from The New York Times 

Yield: 9 Pupusas

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Cups masa harina

1 ½ Cups warm water

12 ounces mozzarella, grated (or a mix of mozzarella and queso blanco) 

canola oil, as needed

In a large bowl, mix the salt into the masa harina. Stir the water into the masa harina with your hands. Lay a foot-long square of plastic wrap on a work surface. 

Divide the cheese into 9 balls. 

Indonesian Food

Oct 5, 2015

Volcanic Flavor Land!


Copyright © by Norman Van Aken, 1999

Yield: (About 40) 1-ounce balls)

For the meatballs:

3 eggs

1 ¼ lbs. ground pork

1 teaspoon sugar

2 Cups grated coconut

Zest of lime

1 Scotch bonnet chile, stem and seeds discarded, minced

6 scallions, trimmed, white and most of the green, minced

6 cloves garlic, seeded and minced

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

Vuelve A La Vida

Sep 30, 2015

“Lazarus! Come quickly! I need you!”

©2007, All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken