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.” 

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Norman Van Aken, © 2013


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

A Word On Food: Lobster Rolls

Jun 18, 2016



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

Buss Up Shut

Jan 16, 2016

Noodle Slurping

Jan 2, 2016


Norman Van Aken, © 2006 Yield: 1 cup 3 Tablespoons lime juice3 Tablespoons soy sauce2 Tablespoons honey1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar1½ teaspoon mirin2 teaspoon ginger, peeled & minced1 Tablespoon sesame oil½ teaspoon chipotles en adobo½ Cup pure olive oil2 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped2 Tablespoon basil, choppedsalt & pepper Combine all ingredients except olive oil and herbs into blender.With blender running, gradually add olive oil.Add herbs, blend until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Reserve or dress on noodlesas desired.5.6.06

Breaking Bread

Dec 19, 2015

Knife Skills

Dec 5, 2015


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.