NORMAN VAN AKEN
CHEF, AUTHOR & TEACHER, MIAMI
Van Aken, a Florida Trend “Icon,” operates a cooking school and several restaurants. Norman’s in Orlando was selected as a semi-finalist for the “Best Restaurant in America” by the James Beard Foundation, only the second time a restaurant from Florida has reached that status. The first time was when the original Norman’s restaurant in Miami reached the finalist category. “A first and so far only to do so,” he says.
He told Florida Trend: “If you can imagine doing anything else, go ahead and do it, because being a chef is a relentless job — the hours, the physicality of it. If you think it’s stressful, I agree with you, but, for me, it’s what I was born to do.”