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Miami Dade College’s Recipe for Success just got Stronger and Tastier with the Addition of a Renowned Chef at its Miami Culinary Institute

Renowned chef and founder of New World cuisine Norman Van Aken hired as executive chef of the new Miami Culinary Institute at MDC, where the state-of-the-art facility serves up an education in food culture innovation
Van Aken headshot

Chef Norman Van Aken

Miami, July 18, 2011 - Miami Dade College (MDC) has developed a breakthrough recipe for culinary excellence with its new Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) that just got a whole lot stronger. Chef John Richards, the director of the college’s International Hospitality Center, has announced that world-renowned chef and founder of New World cuisine Norman Van Aken is the MCI’s new executive chef.

The state-of-the-art Institute, which opened this past spring, truly sets the table for food culture innovation with a vast menu of programs and activities that will please the palate whether one is a student, food enthusiast or culinary industry professional. Guiding this recipe will be Chef Van Aken who has already been heavily involved with the MCI, serving on its Chef’s Council and teaching enthusiast classes. He will now be responsible for managing the foodservice operations for the MCI’s world-class top floor restaurant that is set to open in October, its café and catering services. Under the guidance of Richards, Chef Van Aken will oversee all menu vision and development, the mentoring and training of a world-class kitchen team, and the infusion of food culture innovation into the MCI food operations. He will also develop relationships with other recognized chef leaders, organizations, farmers, markets, growers and green-sustainable food and energy providers to ensure breakthrough eco-culinary practices at the institute.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to join such a respected, trend-setting institution,” said Chef Van Aken. “More importantly, I will work with a great team of chefs and faculty that will train the next generation of food innovators keeping Miami’s food scene at the top.”

Chef Van Aken is a James Beard Award winner. He is also the recipient of dozens of other major culinary awards. He is the founder and chef of Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton Orlando. He is also the author of several books and has made appearances on numerous television shows. Chef Van Aken is considered the founder of New World cuisine. He will work his culinary magic in the state-of-the-art, eight-story Miami Culinary Institute Building at the college’s Wolfson Campus, which is currently tracking Gold LEED certification. It is an architectural and engineering marvel based on small footprint and space utilization. It features general kitchen labs, a baking lab, a food and beverage theatre with connections to the world through the latest A/V technology, a first-floor bakery and the café and restaurant mentioned above to enrich students’ experiences and the community’s involvement.


For more information on the Miami Culinary Institute, please call 305-237-3276 or visit


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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