Norman Van Aken

Norman's restaurant | Three restaurant | Ad Lib restaurant (Orlando, Florida / United States)

Interesting facts


Type of cuisine:
Fusion, New World Cuisine

Brand ambassador, TV, Recipe development, Show cooking, Workshops, Influencer, Speaker, Author

– Inductee into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who” of Food & Beverage in America
– Finalist for the James Beard’s “Outstanding Restaurant in America”

“The thing about my dishes is that each one of them has a story behind it. It is not enough for me to feed bellies … I want to feed your imaginations too”
Norman Van Aken

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“Norman Van Aken is the Jimmy Page of his profession – a man who was there at almost every important moment in its history”
Anthony Bourdain

Florida, an area rich in culture and history, was at a gastronomical standstill, until Chef Norman Van Aken discovered an insightful new way to fuse the foods of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Africa.

As a result, he is internationally recognized for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world.

Chef Norman won the James Beard Award in 1997 for Best Chef in the Southeast and the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence in 1996.

He was one of three nominees for the Julia Child/IACP Award for the Best Chef of the Year and selected by Cooking Light as one of the top five chefs in America.

Van Aken is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage”; his restaurant, Norman’s, was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard’s “Best Restaurant in America and he has been a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America”.

To the delight of residents of Miami, this culinary titan opened “Three at the Wynwood Arcade” which was named one of Miami’s ten best new restaurants of 2018.

In early April 2019, Norman announced that he had become the Coral Gables “Ad Lib” Chef & Partner.

Astonishingly, through years of reading, experience and experimentation, Van Aken made it to the very pinnacle of his profession without attending cooking school.

Chef Norman has published numerous books:
Feast of Sunlight, The Exotic Fruit Book, Norman’s New World Cuisine, New World Kitchen, My Key West Kitchen (with Justin Van Aken),

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