Multiple James Beard Award-Winning Chef’s New Restaurant Embraces Local Lifestyles with Modern Florida Cuisine
MOUNT DORA, Fla. – Chef Norman Van Aken, Florida’s only multiple James Beard Award-winning chef, author of six cook books and a memoir, and known as the founding father of New World cuisine, announces his newest restaurant, 1921 by Norman Van Aken (“1921”). Opening in Mount Dora, Florida this summer, the refined rustic restaurant has a forward-thinking outlook on the bounty of ingredients and culinary traditions that encompass the local community as well as a true reflection of modern Florida cuisine. Situated in a converted home built in 1921, the restaurant serves as a reminder that America, and its varying historic cuisines, are made up of a vast array of recipes and flavors imparted by a wide range of explorers and immigrants. These culinary traditions have become entrenched in the land and local communities found throughout Florida and the world.
“With close access to some of the best local produce, meat, and seafood Florida has to offer, Mount Dora is a fitting location for us in terms of sourcing ingredients for our menu and connecting the restaurant with the local community that shapes our philosophy,” said Chef Van Aken. “I will be working directly with Chef de Cuisine, Camilo Velasco, to celebrate modern cooking while also incorporating time honored traditions of Florida.”
The philosophy of 1921 embraces sustainable practices when sourcing ingredients. The restaurant will work closely with local farms and purveyors within Mount Dora and the surrounding area, maintaining an allegiance to the local growers, producers and food artisans of Florida.
The opening of Chef Van Aken’s highly anticipated 1921 restaurant completes the elegant Mount Dora Modernism Museum complex. The creation, design and execution of this exceptional cultural, shopping and dining collaboration is the brainchild of partner Main Street Leasing. A feast for the eyes, as well as the palate, the restaurant features an extensive collection of artwork, with select pieces on loan from the Modernism Museum. This unique joint partnership between Main Street Leasing and Chef Van Aken brings the art of dining to life in its truest sense.
Chef Van Aken states, “1921 is my love letter to Florida and encompasses the totality of the state from its cuisine to its art to its culture and beyond. Just as the Modernist artists create their works from the tapestry of varying art styles, we create our menu out of the intricate matrix of cuisines found here.”
Working in collaboration, Chef Van Aken and Chef Velasco will serve up hand-crafted cuisine from the state-of-the-art kitchen. Menu offerings at 1921 will change regularly, providing guests the opportunity to experience a wide selection of fresh Florida flavors from snacks and starters such as the Grilled Okeechobee Mushroom Tostadas ($9); to flatbreads and salads like the Smoky Maduro PlantainFlatbread ($14) and Florida Avocado and Summer Squash Salad ($11); to main plates including theWood Grilled Eye of Ribeye with red chimichurri marinated sweetbreads, ember roasted carrots & tomatillo ($36). Additionally, 1921’s wood oven will serve up offerings like the Sour Orange Mojo Roasted Cornish Hen ($24).
The restaurant’s dynamic beverage and bar program will feature a library of unique spirits with multiple ice shapes as well as cocktails including barrel-aged, carbonated on tap, and seasonal creations. 1921’s Wine Director, Scott Geisler, will work closely with Chef Velasco to complement the menu, selecting from the restaurant’s list of global wines varying from eclectic to familiar, recent releases, and storied vintages. Additionally, the beverage program will highlight draft beers from multiple Central Florida craft breweries as well as a variety of bottled and canned beers from around the world.
1921 by Norman Van Aken is located at 142 East 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32751. For reservation please call 352.385.1921 or for more information visit http://1921nva.com/
CHEF NORMAN VAN AKEN, BIOGRAPHY
“Norman Van Aken is the Walt Whitman of American Cuisine.” — Charlie Trotter
“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.” — The Smithsonian
Among his many masteries as a chef, Norman Van Aken is best known for introducing “fusion” into the lexicon of modern cookery and considered to be the founding father of New World Cuisine – a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage” and is a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee along with Jacques Pépin and Wolfgang Puck.
Van Aken is a James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” and his namesake restaurant NORMAN’S, was nominated as a finalist for “Best Restaurant in America.” He has represented the United States proud with international recognitions that include being honored alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller as one of the “Founders of New American Cuisine” at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy ‘Madrid Fusión’ (2006) and represented the State of Florida at the USA Pavilion at EXPO Milano as part of the World’s Fair (2015).
Van Aken has shared his cooking and career, penning more than five cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken). His cookbooks have been hailed by Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck; while his first memoir captured the attention of the prestigious IACP/Julia Child Award and received a nomination.
Chef Norman is the founder of NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando and is currently in the final stages of opening 1921 by Norman Van Aken a restaurant in Mount Dora, Florida (summer 2016) and In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken, a cooking school in Miami (fall 2016).
Chef Van Aken has appeared on various television shows from CNN’s “Parts Unknown” with Bourdain to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He is often cited as a culinary expert in publications such as The New York Times and Saveur. Additionally, Van Aken is the host of “A Word on Food” a radio show that airs twice a week on NPR, in addition to being a staff writer for one of the leading culinary websites, The Daily Meal.
When he is not in the kitchen working up new recipes he can be found spending time with his wife, Janet; son, Justin; daughter-in-law Lourdes; and his pride and joy, his granddaughter, Audrey Quinn Van Aken.
Van Aken will publish his sixth cookbook Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen with his wife Janet later this year.