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


Feb 18, 2018


Feb 10, 2018

chilean country ribs

© 2017 Norman Van Aken

Serves 4


The Caribe Indians on the island of Hispaniola taught the Spanish how to use green wood lattices to make barbacoa—or what we now know as barbecue. A staple of the islanders’ diet was the wild hog. The locals called the animals boucan, and that French word eventually came to be applied to many of the wild seafaring island men: buccaneers.



Feb 3, 2018


Norman Van Aken ©, 2001, “New World Kitchen”

The natives of Southern Colombia inherited pipían from the Inca Empire, which ruled them for a couple of centuries before the Spaniards arrived.

Yield:  60 + Empanadas

For the Filling: (Yields 4 Cups)

1 ½ pounds of red potatoes, peeled and diced

1 Tablespoon annatto oil (see pg xxx) or olive oil

1 Tablespoon whole butter

½ yellow onion, peeled and diced

Shrimp Al Ajillo

Jan 27, 2018


Norman Van Aken, © All Rights Reserved

To say this dish is forward in its robust flavors might just be an understatement. It is a dish that means “Shrimp and Garlic”. I include a different version of this Pan-Latin classic in my previous book, “Norman’s New World Cuisine”.  I am unapologetic in my fervor for big lusty flavors and this is a champion of proving so. If you must you could cut back on the garlic but please don’t tell me.

Yield: Serves 4

½ Cup pure olive oil


Jan 20, 2018


Jan 13, 2018

Foie Gras

Jan 6, 2018

Hoppin' John

Dec 30, 2017


Dec 23, 2017


Yield: 1/3 Cup

2 Tablespoons truffle juice

2 Tablespoon soy sauce

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

6 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine the ingredients together.


Buche De Noel

Dec 16, 2017

Shortbread Cookies

Dec 9, 2017


Jane Manderson taught this to Norman and Janet Van Aken, © 1982

1 pound unsalted butter

1 ½ Cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten until fluffy

2-pound bag of flour

Put the butter, sugar and beaten eggs in a large bowl and cream very well.  Knead in the flour with your hands.  When it is all incorporated put the dough on an unfloured board and continue to knead for about 10 minutes.

La Caja China

Dec 2, 2017


Nov 21, 2017


Norman Van Aken© 2003

3 Tablespoons Roasted Garlic Oil or light olive oil

1 Tablespoon pink grapefruit juice

1 1/2 teaspoon Spanish sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

Kosher salt and freshly toasted and ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups mixed greens, washed and patted dry

Whisk together the garlic oil, grapefruit juice, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.

Dress the greens as desired and serve.


Bao Buns

Nov 11, 2017