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


Aug 13, 2016

STONE CRAB GAZPACHO Norman & Justin Van Aken © Excerpted from, “MY KEY WEST KITCHEN”, Kyle Books What soup could be more perfect in the late afternoon of a hot day to fuel a young cook, (that I once was)? It is descended from the Romans and its construction originally could not have originally involved tomatoes at all. Columbus changed that and, to my belly, all for the better. It is one of the few soups that contain a vinegar. Buy...


Aug 6, 2016

CLAMS CASINO © 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken Yield: 60 Pieces 60 littleneck clams, well scrubbed and shucked, clam ‘liquor’ reserved 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil 3 jalapeños , stemmed, seeded and minced 1 red onion, peeled and diced small ½ bulb fennel, finely diced Heat a heavy pan. Add the Olive Oil. Now sauté the jalapeños , onion and fennel in a skillet over high heat in the olive oil. Season with...

Leg of Lamb

Jul 30, 2016

“SILK ROAD” GRILL/ROASTED LAMB RACK © 2016. All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken This marinade works on a variety of meats; veal, pork and chicken for instance. Silk Road Marinade: Yield: 3/4 Quarts 6 peeled and minced garlic cloves 1 1/3 Tablespoons minced ginger 2 Tablespoons minced shallots 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves 1/2 Cup sherry wine vinegar 1/4 Cup hoisin 1/3 Cup soy 1/3 Cup dark roasted sesame oil 1/3 Cup plum sauce 1/2 Cup...

Onion Rings

Jul 23, 2016

Manchego Crusted Onion Rings © 2016 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken
These egg battered onions have a nice sweetness to them that marries with even delicate foods. 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced 2 eggs, beaten 6 Tablespoons finely grated Manchego cheese Canola or corn oil for deep-frying Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste Coat the onion well with egg. Add the cheese and salt and pepper. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. Immerse as much of the onions that...

Ice Cream

Jul 16, 2016

OYSTERS ‘REMICK’ Norman Van Aken, © 2013 This was one of the recipes that caused immense friction in our little Port of Call Kitchen. Not that anyone would actually confront the owner Philip! That would not fly. Philip didn’t do something obvious like a Ramsey and yell. He looked through folks with eyes older than Sicily and no more needed to be said. The courtroom closed. The case over. But a young French chef I otherwise enjoyed working with very much named René scrunched up his face at...


Jul 2, 2016

CREAMED CHIPPED BEEF ON TOAST a,k.a. S.O.S. © 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken Serves 4 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour freshly ground black pepper, to taste kosher salt, to taste, but remember the meat has salt already 1 teaspoon paprika or Spanish pimentón 1 1/2 Cups milk, at room temperature 1/2 Cup heavy cream, at room temperature 8 ounces chipped beef such as ‘Buddig’ brand...


Jun 25, 2016

SPANISH OLIVE OIL CAKE WITH KUMQUATS AND TOASTED ALMONDS ©1994 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken The healthy richness of olive oil is lightened by the citrus flavors of the kumquat in this almond cake. Almonds probably originated in Asia Minor and were introduced to Spain and Portugal by the Moors. I created this dish for the Spanish Olive Oil Council. They were delighted to find olive oil in a dessert. I think you’ll see why.


Jun 11, 2016

PHO BROTH Norman & Janet Van Aken, © 2016 Here we have a basic Pho Broth. From this point you can create a bunch of different ideas for your versions. Have phun …. 3 quarts Chicken, Pork or Beef Stock 2 ea 3” long piece of ginger, peeled and split in half lengthwise (get weight) 1 # pork neck bones with meat 1 # beef neck bones with meat on them 1 # sweet onions, peeled and halved 3...

Queso Fundido

Jun 4, 2016

QUESO FUNDIDO Norman & Janet Van Aken , © 2016 This dish is sometimes known as Queso Flameado also. But by any name it is a simple, satifying snack enjoyed by many ages. This recipe provides a fair amount of meat in it. If you like you can omit the meat or use less. Yields : 3 Cups Pre-Heat an oven to 350 degrees. 6 ounces raw crumbled chorizo (or other somewhat spicy sausage), casings discarded 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced small 1 1/2 Tablespoon jalapeño, stemmed, seeded...

HUSH PUPPIES Norman & Janet Van Aken Yield: Approximately 20 2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons stone ground yellow cornmeal 2 Tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/2 Cups buttermilk 1 egg 1 teaspoon Escabeche Rub Oil for Frying Combine the cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and egg in another bowl....

STEAK TARTARE ©1997 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken 1 pound completely trimmed filet mignon, finely minced with a knife, chilled well 4 egg yolks, stirred 1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper 2 Tablepoons tiny capers, drained, rinsed well and chopped up 1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced 1/4 Cup Italian parsley leaves, washed and chopped up 1 Tablespoon Tabasco 12-16 anchovy fillets, rinsed well and patted dry, minced Mix the meat...

GINGER SCALLION Pancakes ©2002 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken
Yield: 3 ¼ Cups of batter 2 whole eggs 2 egg yolks 2 Cups milk 2 teaspoons salt Large pinch cracked black pepper 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour ¼ pound butter 1 bunch of scallions, white part only, chopped fine 1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced ½ Scotch bonnet chile, stem and seeds discarded, minced Combine the eggs, egg yolks, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Beat. Sift the flour into...

Eating Tea

May 7, 2016

TEA CURED FISH ©1999 All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken 1 fresh fillet of fish, skinned and boned (weight will vary) 1 Cup Lapsang Souchong black tea leaves, loose 1 Cup sugar 1/2 Cup kosher salt 1/2 Cup freshly toasted and ground black pepper Lay the fish in a flat non-reactive dish. (glass or ceramic) Mix the cure spice all together in a bowl. Spread the mix all over the rounded side of the fish, allowing a very generous covering of the mix. Any leftovers can be saved for another time...

Fish & Chips

Apr 30, 2016