A Word On Food

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“Before the celebrity chef craze… 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.” --- The Smithsonian

Among his many masteries as a chef, Norman Van Aken is best known for introducing "fusion" into the lexicon of modern cookery and considered to be the founding father of New World Cuisine - a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors.  He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage” and was s a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee along with Jacques Pépin and Wolfgang Puck.

Van Aken is a James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” and his namesake restaurant NORMAN’S, was nominated as a finalist for “Best Restaurant in America.”  He has represented the United States proud with international recognitions that include being honored alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller as one of the “Founders of New American Cuisine” at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy ‘Madrid Fusión’ (2006) and represented the State of Florida at the USA Pavilion at EXPO Milano as part of the World’s Fair (2015).

Van Aken has shared his cooking and career, penning more than five cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken).   His cookbooks have been hailed by Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck; while his memoir captured the attention of the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Award and received a ‘finalist nomination’ along with Michael Pollan, Anne Willan and Luke Barr.

Chef Van Aken opened “1921 by Norman Van Aken” a restaurant in Mount Dora, Florida in September, 2016. The restaurant has 160 seats with indoor and outdoor dining open for lunch and dinner featuring “Modern Florida Cuisine”. It is in alliance with the extraordinary Modernism Museum directly across the street. The restaurant’s design includes many elements from the Museum’s collection of art. Additionally he is partnered with Candace Walsh to open “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken”, a cooking school in Miami in June of 2017. The two are joined by restaurateur Susan Buckley and debuting a new restaurant and roof-deck lounge adjacent to the school due this summer. The restaurant is named “Three”. Chef Norman is the Chef and founder of NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando which opened in 2003 and has many local and national accolades.

Chef Van Aken has appeared on various television shows from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Bourdain to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”  He is often cited as a culinary expert in publications such as The New York Times and Saveur.  Additionally, Van Aken is the hosts of “A Word on Food” a radio show that airs twice a week on NPR, in addition to being a staff writer for one of the leading culinary websites, The Daily Meal. There he is featured on his column, “Kitchen Conversations” which have featured chefs, authors, wine-makers, cocktail gurus and restaurant luminaries.

His next book, “Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen” will be out in Fall of 2017 and published by University of Florida Press.

When he is not in the kitchen working up new recipes he can be found spending time with his wife, Janet; son, Justin; daughter-in-law Lourdes; and his pride and joy, his granddaughter, Audrey Quinn Van Aken.

The Beard House

Sep 23, 2017

Turtle

Sep 9, 2017

Vanilla

Sep 2, 2017

TOMATO AND VANILLA ‘JAM’

© 2017 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken
 

Yield: 2 Cups

1 Tablespoon of pure olive oil

1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter

1 Cup sweet onion, peeled and chopped medium

¼ Cup sugar

1/3 Cup balsamic vinegar

6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 fresh vanilla bean, split

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of black pepper

Sopa de Res

Aug 26, 2017

Blood Sausage

Aug 19, 2017

Beer Nuts

Aug 12, 2017

ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICHES

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

I rarely make this at home. Our memories of them growing up near Chicago were all about going to places that make excellent versions and unlike most homes they have the electric meat slicer that make the nearly paper thin meat part of their pleasure. If you have not had them note that they are served almost soaking wet with au jus. That is the proper way.

Serves 8

1 5-lb beef brisket roast
1 medium onion, sliced    
4 Cups beef stock

Truck Stops

Jul 29, 2017

FORTUNE COOKIES

© 2017 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/4 cup superfine sugar

1 cup egg whites (about 6)

1/4 cup hot melted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tablespoons ground ginger

Corn

Jul 15, 2017

CHIPOTLE CORN SKILLET BREAD

Norman Van Aken, © Copyright 2001

Yields: 1) 9” cast iron or non-stick skillet

1 chipotle, stem removed seeded and toasted

2 Tablespoons butter

1 ½ Cups raw corn kernels (2 ears of corn, kernels removed)

1 clove garlic

½ Cup yellow cornmeal

½ Cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/3 Cup melted shortening

1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk

1 Cup grated Manchego cheese

Bollos

Jul 8, 2017

BOLLOS or “Black Eye’d Pea Fritters”                                          

© 2012 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken, Excerpted from “My Key West Kitchen”, Kyle Books

Yield: Approximately 60 Fritters

Norman Van Aken, © All Rights Reserved

 

12 ounces dried black eye’d peas

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile stemmed, seeded and minced

1/2 sweet onion, peeled and dices small

Tortillas

Jul 1, 2017

TORTILLA SOUP WITH SUGARCANE CHICKEN

Norman Van Aken, © 2001

This soup takes a hard left as you head south out of North America and presents a Caribbean flavored chicken with one of the classic soups of Mexico.

Black Bean Soup

Jun 24, 2017

black bean soup with roasted squash

Norman Van Aken, © 2011

Yield: 12 Cups

 

6 ounces smoky bacon, diced

2 Tablespoons pure olive oil

1 Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 large Spanish onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 Tablespoons toasted and ground cumin seeds (see page 9)

2 bay leaves, broken in half

1 Cup Spanish dry sherry

VIETNAMESE SYLED MEATBALLS, (NINH HOA)

Norman Van Aken, © 2007

Yield: 3 pounds of meat to make into variously sized meatballs. (about 66 medium balls)

2 pounds ground pork, (we used pork tenderloin)

9 ounces of ground fatty bacon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 Tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced

1 ½ Tablespoons sugar

2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch

1 Tablespoon Nuoc Cham, (see recipe below)

Escargot

Jun 10, 2017

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