MY KEY WEST KITCHEN: Recipes and Stories (Paperback Edition)
Norman Van Aken
October 6, 2017
Norman Van Aken
October 6, 2017
Norman Van Aken has been described as “legendary, visionary and a trailblazer,” as well as ‘The Culinary Titan of Florida.” He is “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.
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. The Orlando Sentinel placed him in the Florida Hall of Fame.
He is an internationally acclaimed author. His memoir, No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken, has been praised by many, including Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Jeremiah Tower and Wolfgang Puck. The book was also nominated for the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Award.
In 2006, Norman 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. In 2015 Chef Van Aken represented Florida at the USA Pavilion at EXPO Milano as part of the World’s Fair, titled “American Food 2.0, United to Feed the Planet.”
Norman Van Aken has published five cookbooks and one memoir: Feast of Sunlight (1988), The Exotic Fruit Book (1995), Norman’s New World Cuisine (1997), New World Kitchen (2003), My Key West Kitchen (2012, with Justin Van Aken), No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken (2013). His next book is scheduled for 2016, My Florida Kitchen (with Janet Van Aken).
His radio show, A Word on Food, appears on NPR station WLRN 91.3 FM. He has appeared on numerous television programs, from CNN to Anthony Bourdain to Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Chef-Owner of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando.”
His new venture is a Cooking School, “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken,” in partnership with Candace Walsh. It’s being built on Biscayne in Miami.
“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.” – Smithsonian Magazine
Award-winning chef Norman Van Aken has been cooking in Florida for 40 years. My Key West Kitchen is his love letter to Key West, where he first found the passion to cook, and where the unique cultural makeup of the island influenced his cuisine today. Follow Chef Van Aken as he strolls through Key West, reminiscing and re-creating dishes from “little joints” and restaurants both past and present. Organized by well-known Key West neighborhoods, the chapters include “Duval and Downtown Crawlin’,” “Places in the Hoods,” “Places on the Water,” and “Around Town These Days.” In each, Norman includes recipes for his own take of the first foods and drinks he experienced in Key West and how they seemed “different than ordinary American fare,” from the Sunday Fish Fry at Capt. Tony’s to the Rib Sandwich and Dark & Stormy from the Bahama Village Elk’s Club. Norman also focuses on the home cooking of Key West, whether it’s “Yard Bird” Fricasse with Collard Greens and Pot Likker from the Tropical American South, Plaintain Soup from the Spanish Caribbean, or Nassau Grouper in Banana Leaves with Coconut “Run Down” from the British Caribbean. Interspersed throughout each chapter as well, Norman revisits eight menus from his past and chooses three of his favorite recipes from each, including the Sunshine Lime Pie from his very first cooking job at The Midget in 1973 to the Wild Mushrooms on Brioche with Sherry Cream and Serrano Ham that he created at the infamous Café at Louie’s Backyard in 1987. Norman and his co-author and son, Justin, also include many examples of what they are cooking today like a Tamale Scramble with Chorizo and Jack Cheese or Justin’s Best-Ever Peanut Butter Ice Cream. Finally, Chapter 5, The Bodega, includes 20 must-have pantry recipes to guarantee successful cooking in your own Key West kitchen.