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142 East 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757 – DIRECTIONS | 352.385.1921

LUNCH – Wednesday – Sunday 11:30AM to 2:00PM

DINNER – Tuesday – Sunday 5:00PM to Close


Norman Van Aken | chef/Partner

“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 Smith-sonian

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 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 Anthony Bourdain to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He is often cited as a culinary expert in publica-tions such as The New York Times and Saveur. Additionally, Van Aken is the hosts of “A Word on Food”

Camilo Velasco | Chef De Cuisine

Chef Camilo Velasco was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. Upon moving to the United States in 2004 he was inspired by the accessibility and diversity of the food and culture the states had to offer. Fueling his interests, Velasco began his culinary journey in 2008, when he enrolled in Valencia College’s culinary arts program.

Velasco knew that focus and hard work were the two ingredients needed to make his way up the ranks of the metaphorical “kitchen hierarchy” and so, while in school, he took a side job as a dishwasher and prep cook at The Bistro in the Courtyard by Marriott on International Drive. He had set his standards high and so within one year of working at The Bistro, transitioned to Commis at Orlando’s AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant, Victoria & Albert’s where he trained directly under James Beard Award-nominee, Chef Scott Hunnel.

Velasco quickly learned the inner-workings of how a kitchen dedicated to culinary excellence should run and after 2 years he was offered the Sous Chef position at NORMAN’S at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Lakes to work under the direction of award-winning chef and founding father of New World Cuisine, Norman Van Aken. Committed to giving it his all, Velasco immediately stood out and after a short four months was promoted to Chef de Cuisine. Van Aken quickly became Velasco’s mentor and so in 2012 when given the opportunity to work at the chef’s newest Miami concept, Tuyo, as a Chef de Partie, he relocated.

Ripe for his return to Central Florida and to his growing family here, Velasco ran the kitchen at Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen before reconnecting with Van Aken to lead the award-winning chef’s second Central Florida restaurant, 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora. Here Velasco works closely with Van Aken, focusing on the culinary traditions of the area while adding a modern twist to the varied menu. Velasco aims to create a true Florida culinary experience for restaurant guests with a menu that changes regularly to fit the local food and flair of the area.

Chef Velasco’s love for the culinary arts has led him to pursue other intriguing aspects of the industry including becoming an Introductory Certified Sommelier and participating in culinary demos, conferences and symposiums. When he’s not in the kitchen, he’s enjoying time with his family and can be found running after his three kids.

Stay in touch with the team at 1921