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.

Gallo Pinto

Feb 4, 2017

Griot of Haiti

Jan 28, 2017

Versailles

Jan 21, 2017

Mise En Place

Jan 14, 2017

Patty Melts

Jan 7, 2017

ASIAN BBQ PORTOBELLO PATTY MELTS

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Yield: 2 Patty Melts

For the Marinade and Mushrooms:

1 1/2 Cups Ginger Soy Dressing, (see below).

Save the remainder for many ideas or more of this.

1 Cup Ketchup

4 portobello mushroom caps, stem removed

Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees.Mix the Ginger Soy Dressing with the Ketchup in a large bowl. Add the mushroom caps and turn them over several times over the course of 30-40 minutes.

Latkes

Dec 31, 2016

LATKES WITH SOUR CREAM AND CAVIAR

© 2016 All rights reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Oyster Bars

Dec 17, 2016

MIGNONETTE SAUCE

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

If you like cocktail sauce on your oysters you are among a larger group than if you choose this sauce. But you might be the kind of purist that I am when it comes to sublime oysters.

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons red wine

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup finely chopped shallots

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or more to taste

Happy Pancakes

Dec 10, 2016

Sea Scallops

Dec 3, 2016

SCALLOPS WITH PAPAS CHORREADAS AND ROMAINE LEAVES

Norman Van Aken, © 2013 “New World Kitchen”, HarperCollins Books

Collard Greens

Nov 26, 2016

‘COCA’ COLLARDS

© 2016 All rights reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken, “My Florida Kitchen”

Cow Foot

Nov 19, 2016

Pork Fat

Nov 12, 2016

BASIC BRAISED PORK BELLY

Norman & Janet Van Aken, © 2012

We wanted to give you a recipe that utilizes some of the best pork fat on a pig; pork belly. So …belly up!

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

Milk

Nov 5, 2016

I had been fascinated with this recipe for years. The first time I saw it was in the works of the great Marcella Hazan’s work. I began making versions only recently. Something else must have re-ignited my curiosity. Cooking is like that. You can circle and come back when you are ready to take on a recipe. I find books are the same way. Some books are not ready to meet us, (or really us meet them) until the age in life is at the ‘just so’ intersection. And it was patience that helped me the most on this as I was quite distrustful of the look of that milk as it cooked.

Collar

Oct 29, 2016

BROILED (OR GRILLED) HAMACHI COLLAR

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Hamachi Collar is something most folks wait to enjoy until they are at an Asian restaurant. But you will see that it is quite easy to prepare once you obtain the collar. Collar is known as ‘kama’ in Asian markets.

Yield: Serves 1-2

YIELD: 2 Cups

Hoisin Citrus Soy Marinade:

2 Cups orange juice

3 Tablespoons ginger, peeled and sliced

3 Tablespoons lemongrass, sliced into small thin rounds

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