Norman Van Aken

Norman Van Aken
Did you know?

As the leader of a quartet of talented South Florida chefs in the 1980s, Norman introduced the fusion of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. This style of cooking is considered one of our culinary treasures.

Norman Van Aken
Norman's Featured Recipe
Pompano & Fideo Noodle Stew with Rosa’s Two Way Tomato Sauce

Click here for recipe

Norman Van Aken is known internationally as the founding father of New World Cuisine, and helped to put South Florida on the culinary map. He is known as the man who introduced the term “fusion cooking” to the world.


His culinary philosophy is to create a marriage of the sensual and rustic with the classic and intellectual in a celebration of the various places we live. This led Chicago chef Charlie Trotter to call Norman the “Walt Whitman of American Cuisine.”


Norman is the author of Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine, nominated for the Julia Child/IACP award; and New World Kitchen. His two most recent books are a memoir, No Experience Necessary, and a book coauthored with his son Justin, also a chef, called My Key West Kitchen.


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” by Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión Event. Honored with him were Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme, and Mark Miller. In 2014, Chef Van Aken was presented the AIG Grand Prix Gastronomic Culture Prize to Norman Van Aken. He was the first American to receive the honor.


Norman’s radio show, “A Word on Food” appears on NPR station WLR. He has also appeared on Television from CNN to Emeril to Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Chef and Founder of Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando. 



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Latest Recipes

Spiny Lobster Hash Cakes with Piccalilli Tartar Sauce

Steamed lobster might get all the press, but these Spiny Lobster Hash Cakes with Piccalilli Tartar Sauce are worth a try! This seafood recipe includes plenty of lobster with generous portions of potatoes, herbs, and seasoning. The result is a seafood recipe you'll want to keep in your repertoire the next time you're planning a meal for a special occasion. Whether you have a birthday party, a milestone event, or other event on your calendar, this recipe is sure to be a hit with the crowd. In addition, these lobster hash cakes also use the author's recipe for Piccalilli Tartar Sauce.

(1 Votes)

Turrón Studded Chilled Chocolate Brownies

If you want to share something special with family and friends, then this recipe for Turron Studded Chilled Chocolate Brownies is for you. It's the addition of turron that takes these brownies to the next level! For a truly special occasion, consider serving this easy brownie recipe with a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top, or with sliced fresh fruit on the side. If you need help finding turron, then consider contacting a gourmet grocery shop in your area. You'll love serving this brownie recipe for dessert after a flavorful meal.

(1 Votes)

Pompano & Fideo Noodle Stew with Rosa’s Two Way Tomato Sauce

The next time you're in need of some comfort food, keep this recipe for Pompano and Fideo Noodle Stew with Rosas Two Way Tomato Sauce in mind! This easy fish recipe is filling and hearty, and will be the perfect dinner idea for a chilly fall evening. The herbs and flavors in this easy fish recipe will make this dish a hit with your family and friends, so consider making this stew when it's your turn to host everyone for dinner. When you are preparing to make this dish, consider making the author's recipe for Rosas Two Way Tomato Sauce in advance to save some time.

(1 Votes)

Rosa’s "Two Way" Tomato Sauce

When was the last time you made an easy tomato sauce recipe? If it's been a while, then you will want to see this recipe for Rosa's "Two Way" Tomato Sauce. Bacon, garlic, and fresh basil leaves all impart a delicious and savory taste that you are sure to love. You can use this recipe with your favorite pasta dish, as it full of hearty flavor that everyone at the dinner table is sure to love. It is also used in the author's recipe for Pompano and Fideo Noodle Stew, so consider making a batch of the sauce in advance of when you plan to make that dish.

(1 Votes)

Piccalilli Tartar Sauce

If you've only ever had pre-made tartar sauce, then give this recipe for Piccalilli Tartar Sauce a try! The tartar sauce recipe is full of flavor and includes an assortment of ingredients that you might already have on hand at home, with eggs and apple cider vinegar among those on the list. You will find that this creamy and rich tartar sauce recipe is the perfect accompaniment to many of your favorite meals with fish. You can top a grilled fish fillet with this sauce, or use it as part of the author's recipe for Spiny Lobster Hash Cakes with Piccalilli Tartar Sauce.

(1 Votes)

Piccalilli Relish

With this recipe for Piccalilli Relish, store-bought relish will be a thing of the past! This easy relish recipe includes an assortment of fresh and finely chopped vegetables with an assortment of seasonings, resulting in a flavorful relish you'll want to use again and again. You can use this easy relish recipe as an accompaniment to your favorite sandwiches and slathered on burgers and hot dogs. It also plays a starring role in this author's recipe for Piccalilli Tartar Sauce. You'll impress family and friends when you add this delightful relish to your condiment selection at your next cookout or potluck.

(1 Votes)

Black Bean, Tropical Fruit, and Queso Blanco Salsa

My talented friend chef Douglas Rodriguez gave me the inspiration for this salsa one night at a fantastic party he threw. Queso blanco, a...

(1 Votes)

Black Bean Soup with Roasted Squash

I’ve served this classic simple soup for decades. With the addition of the West Indian pumpkin known as calabaza and a coriander-lime Cre...

(1 Votes)

Chicken Stock

If there were just one stock I’d encourage you to make, this is it. Why? Because it is the foundation of more soups and sauces than any o...

(1 Votes)

Tortilla Soup with Sugarcane-Marinated Chicken

This dish combines Caribbean-flavored chicken with one of the classic soups of Mexico. Simple, nourishing, and restorative, it can be mad...

(1 Votes)

Sugarcane Marinade

An all-purpose barbecue-style marinade that is great with chicken, quail, and duck. I like it so much that I use it on the chicken when I...

(1 Votes)

Roasted Garlic Oil and Roasted Garlic

Few foods metamorphose as dramatically or alluringly as garlic when it is roasted. Hardly a savory recipe exists in which one could not i...

(1 Votes)

Note on roasting chiles and bell peppers

Roasting chiles and bell peppers is one of the best techniques for bringing out their intense flavors. When I call for roasted chiles or ...

(1 Votes)

Sea Bass Ceviche with Jicama and Avocado Slaw

This recipe demonstrates the new thinking on ceviches in Peru. The idea nowadays is to greatly reduce the length of the marinating period...

(1 Votes)

Tiradito of Scallops 

A tiradito is a slightly more uptown version of ceviche. The only real diffrence is that if the fish or seafood in a tiradito was a larg...

(1 Votes)

Papas Chorreadas with Romaine

Papas chorreadas is a staple of Colombian cuisine. The combination of potatoes and cheese works the world over. This dish adds style to s...

(1 Votes)

Curried Chicken with Pineapple, Cucumber, and Coconut

Curry and coconut, star anise and saffron—here is a recipe that demonstrates the powerful union of Caribbean and Asian food so often foun...

(1 Votes)

Spiced Pork Chops

In Bolivia, the fare is robust and highly spiced to keep people warm and energized at altitudes above 12,000 feet. After a hard day’s wor...

(1 Votes)

Grill-Roasted Rack of Lamb in Red Mole

The grill adds a sophisticated smoky quality to this dish, but you can make it from beginning to end using only the oven. Maduro plantain...

(1 Votes)

Red Mole

Canela, a Latin American cousin of cinnamon, is a leading player in this sauce. Once used by affluent Romans in love potions and perfumes...

(1 Votes)

Annatto Oil

The ochre hue characteristic of so many dishes of the Caribbean and Latin America comes from annatto. Annatto seeds, also known as a achi...

(1 Votes)

Chicken and Seafood Stew with Coconut Milk and Nuts

This is one of the more complex recipes included in the book, but if you have the time to devote to it you’ll be more than satisfied with...

(1 Votes)

Coconut Kisses

You’ll love these sweet, heady kisses the way you love a favorite candy bar from your childhood. Sometimes I offer them with fruit purees...

(1 Votes)
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