Norman Van Aken, chef-owner of Norman’s and 1921 by Norman Van Aken and founder of In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken cooking school
Why he’s Food 50: The chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, radio host and culinary school founder is just getting started.
With a storied, lauded cooking career that’s spanned more than four decades, Norman Van Aken would be well within his right to retire to Key West, where it all began. But retirement doesn’t seem to be on this pioneering chef’s horizon. Van Aken is currently working on his sixth cookbook — a deep dive into Florida cuisine, written with wife Janet — and preparing to open two new projects, his first since Norman’s in Orlando.
He’ll open 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora, a region he compares to “an early Napa Valley or Woodstock.” And soon his anticipated cooking school, In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken, will spring to life in the revitalized Vagabond Hotel. Where other chefs would have hung up their aprons or sold out to a series of sponsorship deals, Van Aken continues to push and innovate with the same hunger that has solidified his legend.
Where to find him: In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken, 7301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami (coming soon); 305-748-6915