A Word On Food

Saturdays at 8:34 AM

Chef Norman Van Aken
Credit www.normanvanaken.com

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 book is a memoir. It is titled, “No Experience Necessary,” (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 91.3.

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

Twitter | Facebook

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


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.


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. 

Vuelve A La Vida

Sep 30, 2015

“Lazarus! Come quickly! I need you!”

©2007, All Rights Reserved by Norman Van Aken

Pan con Bistec

Sep 19, 2015


Norman & Janet Van Aken © 2015

Normally this is a non marinated thinly cut piece of beef. I wanted to make ours a bit… zestier.  You might know that is a pun if you listen to the “A Word On Food” show this goes with… Either way… it is a great flavor profile and I think you will make Mojo Rojo for many other reasons going forward.

Serves 1 Sandwich

“Mojo Rojo” (recipe below) as desired. Extra can be saved for another use.

5-6 ounces of Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon)


Sep 12, 2015


Copyright © by Norman Van Aken, 2013

Yield: 15-16 (3 inch) arepas


Arepas are rich, cheese-topped cornmeal cakes and wonderful in a rather hedonistic way, though you might not know it if your only prior experience of them comes from Latin American street fairs and carnivals. I adore these cakes and look for all manner of ways in which to use them. Try them with a lean bowl of chicken soup or Sopa de Pavo (page 71), or a bowl of chili.

Fried Shrimp

Sep 5, 2015


Croqueta Preparadas

Aug 29, 2015

  Gas up the 'Word On Food Mobile' Sherman!


Aug 22, 2015

    Taste Traveling for Honduran’s Favorite Soul Food