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


Jul 2, 2016


© 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

4 slices of bread, toasted just before serving


Jun 25, 2016


©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.

Yields: One (9 inch) Cake

6 kumquats, cut in half


Jun 11, 2016


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 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms

Queso Fundido

Jun 4, 2016


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 and minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


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.


©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 with the remaining ingredients and stir well.


©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.

Eating Tea

May 7, 2016


©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 or use.

Fish & Chips

Apr 30, 2016


Apr 23, 2016

Yuzu-Sesame Vinaigrette

©2002 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken

Yield: ¾ Cup + 2 Tbsp

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 Cup Yuzu Juice

1/3 Cup tamari

1/3 Cup sesame oil

1 Tablespoon Rayu, (hot chile infused Sesame Oil)

Mix all together and reserve until needed.


Pan De Bono

Apr 16, 2016

Peruvian Cuisine

Apr 9, 2016


Norman Van Aken, © 2001


Apr 2, 2016




Norman Van Aken, © 2001

Serves: 4 quarts

4 boneless, chicken breasts

3 Tablespoons pure olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 tomato, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

10 Cups chicken stock

1 ½ pounds yellow Finnish or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin

1 ½ pounds white skinned potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin

3 Cups roughly chopped spinach leaves, stems removed

3 ears of corn cut off the cob

2 Tablespoons minced oregano


Mar 26, 2016


Norman & Janet Van Aken © 2016

Rather than give out a specfic Enchilada or Taco Filling for this recipe we encourage you to be adapative as to what is in the farmer’s markets etc. You can go with a basic cheese and vegetable mix or a braise of heritage pork with roasted peppers and everywhere in between. 

Yield: 8 Enchiladas

1/3 cup vegetable oil

8 (8-inch) corn tortillas

2 Cups (more or less as you like) Enchilada Sauce, (Recipe Below)


Mar 19, 2016

conch salad with pickled onions, sweet peppers, and watermelon

Norman Van Aken © 2016

 Yield: serves 4

 Many have never had the treat of fresh conch. I often tell people to substitute fresh clams (and, in fact, you can substitute almost any kind of fresh fish—this recipe is really very adaptable). But with the wonders of overnight delivery, you can now easily have fresh conch. Other seafoods may be substituted of course.

8 ounces conch, cleaned and cut into very thin julienne