Norman Van Aken Receives The Torch Award at 2015 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show
ORLANDO, FL, November 2, 2015 – Norman Van Aken, Chef and Founder of NORMAN'S at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, has been described as 'legendary, visionary and a trailblazer' as well as 'the culinary Titan of Florida,' which made him the overwhelming choice to be the first Floridian to receive the TORCH Award during the recent Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. The award, which recognizes an individual or group of Chefs or Restaurateurs whose achievements have enhanced and brought innovation to the restaurant and foodservice community, was presented by Ferdinand Metz, Certified Master Chef and former President of the Culinary Institute of America for more than 20 years, and Chairman of the Education Program at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.
"Throughout his illustrious career, Norman has illuminated the darkness, which obscured the outstanding contributions of chefs in the kitchens of America. He has marshaled the energy to build a virtual restaurant/media empire as he basically transformed the landscape of the Florida restaurant scene. This chef embodies the joy and the passion of the never ending challenge of seeking out new flavors and creations enthusiastically embraced by all his patrons. He has educated, trained and promoted many of his cooks and co-workers, who have gone on to forge their own successes and careers, and he has given hope by reaching out to the communities around him and given steadfast support to many charitable organizations," said Master Chef Metz during the presentation.
Norman Van Aken 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." He has published five cookbooks, and his radio show, "A Word on Food," appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN.
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