Interview, D’Artagnan, “Center Of The Plate”

Courtesy: Center of the Plate

At D’Artagnan we proudly work with chefs across the country, providing them with quality ingredients to express their creativity in the kitchen. Some we have decades-long relationships with, and others are new to the family. The chef we interviewed for this blog post falls in the former camp. Chef Norman Van Aken is…

Meeting Julia Child, (The First Time)

I didn’t grow up watching Julia Child on television the way many people of my generation did.  My television hours were not inclined toward any aspects of cooking, though we did cook in our home.  My mother was a both a restaurant worker and also (for a time) a Girl Scout leader….

Chopped Steak

When I was about six years of age our paternal grandmother we grandkids all called, “Gra” took me to a fancy restaurant in the city of Chicago. I was excited by the menu. I ordered the Sirloin Steak Haché. I was absolutely crestfallen when what arrived looked like a damn hamburger …….

My Kitchen Meditations: “On Knives”

My Kitchen Meditations ‘On Knives’ I went to bed after a long day of cutting. I thought back on the previous 24 hours as I hulled and then evenly sliced Florida strawberries in the ascending morning light using a Japanese knife its creator might have envisioned for other tasks. My knives are an…

Spring Rolls

We opened a cooking school in the Wynwood Arts part of Miami. Many people assume it is a school for professional types that are seeking a degree in cuisine. Nope. That is not what sparked me into seeking a way to do this. I have never been a student at a culinary…

AD LIB In “The Miami New Times”

Courtesy: The Miami New Times

“One would be hard-pressed these days to find a restaurant that can’t, in some way, be called fusion. In Miami alone, Richard Hales smashes together Korean food and burger-shack fare at Sakaya Kitchen, while Phuc Yea’s Cesar Zapata cooks Viet-Cajun cuisine and has done so since long before it was featured in…

Tomatoes Upon Waking

Three scents wake me.  Not wake me initially.  An alarm did that.  These are the wakings of an appetite as they are touched by the brewing coffee, the emanations of ripening mangoes…but the third scent is more subtle than the first two.  It comes from the tomato my knife and I slit…


There are ingredients that are so closely associated with a geography they seem inextricably tied to them and their terroir. The great Georgia born writer Flannery O’ Connor wrote this about the craft of storytelling, “When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs as you do, you can ……

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