A Word On Food

Saturdays at 8:34 AM

“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. He is also known as the “founding father of New World Cuisine” - a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, American and African flavors.  He is the only Floridian Chef inducted into the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage”. He was a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee along with previous winners Wolfgang Puck and Jacques Pépin.  

Van Aken is a James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” and his namesake restaurant NORMAN’S, in Coral Gables, was nominated as a finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant in America.” The only one thus far in the entire state of Florida.  He founded NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando in 2003, also a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant in America”, only the second restaurant in the history of Florida to reach the semi-finalist stage (The first was NORMAN’s in Coral Gables). He has received numerous local and national accolades over the years, and has represented the United States 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/World’s Fair (2015).  

Van Aken has shared his cooking and career, penning six cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen; Norman Van Aken's Florida Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken).  His cookbooks have been hailed by Anthony Bourdain, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Eric Ripert, and 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. His latest published book, Norman Van Aken's My Florida Kitchen, was selected to represent the USA in the local category of the Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards and has been awarded the Florida Book Award’s Gold Medal for Cooking. 

Another project is, ‘Time Out Market Miami’ Food Hall where he has two concepts. One is based on his beloved Key West and the other is his take on artisanal pizzas. The original Time Out Market is in Lisbon, Portugal with more markets to follow in New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Dubai and Montreal. The food hall is about 20,000 square feet and is already becoming a Miami standout for tourists and locals alike.

Chef Van Aken has appeared on various television shows from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Anthony 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 host of “A Word on Food” a radio show that airs weekly on NPR station 91.3 WLRN in Miami.

When he is not in the kitchen, 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. 

Elotes Asados

Jul 11, 2020

ELOTES ASADOS

Norman Van Aken ©, All Rights Reserved

For a simpler preparation you can use store bought mayo but the addition of a spoonful or pureed chipotles en adobo (out of can from the store) are a nice, smoky-spicy addition.

Yield: This makes enough for 8 ears of corn

For the mayonnaise:

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 Cup canola or grapeseed oil

½ Cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Robert is Here

Jul 4, 2020

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FULL MOON FISH SANDWICH, ‘FULL MOON SALOON’ Norman and Justin Van Aken © All rights reserved. “My Key West Kitchen" No sandwich in the history of Key West was consumed by more drunks on premise than this one. No sandwich saved more people from a certain, potentially lethal, hangover. Essentially it is a fresh as can be fish sandwich but smothered in cheese and mushrooms. This bar from whence the sandwich was wrought survived during the most ‘party til you drop’ years of a very substantial partying town.

French Fries

Jun 30, 2020

We were not sure about including a recipe for French Fries in that there are so many in other books. But if that is so why do we suffer through so many ORDINARY fries out there? I have been loving and eating Janets french fries about 12 years longer than Justin has. And that is due to his arriving on the French Fry scene here took being born first. I had her home-made, hand made fries in her parents home while she was still in high school. Never have I had better.

JANET’S FRENCH FRIES
Norman and Justin Van Aken, 2012, “My Key West Kitchen”

Iced Tea

Jun 13, 2020

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Crayfish

Jun 6, 2020

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The Metric System

May 30, 2020

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  WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give

The Meat Pickers

May 16, 2020

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Slow Foods

May 9, 2020

PORK HAVANA, KEY WEST STYLE

Source: “MY KEY WEST KITCHEN”, Norman & Justin Van Aken ©, 2012

Yield: Serves 4

2 sour oranges, cut in half

2 oranges, cut in half

4 limes, cut in half

1/2 cup pure olive oil, plus more for searing

8 whole black peppercorns, bruised

2 bay leaves, broken

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 3 cloves, peeled and cut into studs

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

One 4-bone rack of pork (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)

Cafeteria Foods

May 2, 2020

Last Suppers

Apr 25, 2020

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Comfort Foods

Apr 18, 2020

TURRÓN STUDDED CHILLED CHOCOLATE BROWNIES                                                                         

© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken

Yield: 1 9” x 9” baking dish/About 12 Brownies cut 2 1/2 inches by 3 inches

For the Brownies:

4 ounces unsalted butter

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65%), chopped fine

2 ounces virgin coconut oil

1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar

3 ea. eggs, large

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces all-purpose flour

Home, Cooking

Apr 11, 2020

CORNMEAL-RYE WAFFLES

© 2010, All Rights Reserved Norman Van Aken & Justin Van Aken, “My Key West Kitchen”

Yield: 5 ½ Cups Batter

2 Cups cornmeal

¾ Cups whole rye flour

¼ Cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon mace, optional

3 Cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Put the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well to combine.

Spice Rubs

Mar 28, 2020

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ESCABECHE SPICE RUB

Norman Van Aken, © 2019

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