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Night of Culinary Excellence and Philanthropy at NORMAN'S Orlando

Celebrated giants of the culinary world joined forces to raise needed funds for kids battling cancer at the grand opening of NORMAN'S in Orlando, Florida – the eponymous new restaurant helmed by Chef Norman Van Aken, James Beard Award Winner and founding father of New World Cuisine.

Alongside long-time business partner Kim Wood, Van Aken and celebrity guest chefs (Iron Chef) Ming Tsai and James Beard Award Winner Dean Fearing – whose charity Kids Beating Cancer® was the evening’s beneficiary – charmed the well-heeled crowd with live culinary demos, including Van Aken’s “Calle Ocho” Classic Cuban Sandwich and Chef Tsai’s anti-inflammatory Vegan Cheeseburger. After his demo, Tsai, ever the showman, was seen passing out coupons for his “MingsBings” grocery store offerings.

Chef Fearing delighted attendees with his Texas-inspired Warm Lobster Tacos with Yellow Tomato Salsa and Jicama Salad.

The exterior of the 7,300-square-foot culinary destination was adorned with a metallic and white oversized balloon archway curated by Laura Lawton and her team at BASH Orlando. Guests were welcomed to the red carpet by NORMAN’S Private Event Manager Laura Fletcher, then enjoyed rhythmic melodies and performances by Flamenco Tropicale.

In addition to composed plates from the kitchen featuring the evenings chef demo items prepared by Chef de Cuisine Carlos Robles, guests enjoyed a charcuterie station and wine tasting tables offering varietals from Lampo Borgoluce and Rock Angel Rose.

Passed plates included the Florida Day Boat Tiradito with Aji Amarillo and Roasted Sweet Corn; Braised Pork Belly with Celery Root Mash and Rosemary-Tomato Jam; Chilled Charred Beef Tenderloin Tataki with Ginger-Soy Dressing and Sunchoke Chips, Yuca Stuffed Crispy Shrimp, Habanero Tartar Sauce, Classic Orange Mojo, Black Bean and Maduro Plantain Empanadas, and Blue Crab Beignets with Yuzu Aïoli and Hearts of Palm Slaw.

NORMAN’S Beverage Consultant and mixology extraordinaire Andi Cruzatti kicked off the afterhours portion of the event with her live cocktail demo of the Miami-inspired “Ave Maria” – a tropical blend of Copalli Rum, Toasted Coconut, Guava, Pineapple, and Coconut Cream – The Terrace, NORMAN’S spacious covered al fresco dining space.

VIP guests included Master Sommelier Laura DePasquale; Founder and CEO of Kids Beating Cancer® Margaret Guedes and Sam Azar, COO of Kids Beating Cancer.


(L to R) Ming Tsai, Tom Wood, Kim Wood, Norman Van Aken, and Dean Fearing at the grand opening of NORMAN'S in Orlando, an event transforming lives in support of Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).



(L to R) Chef's Ming Tsai, Norman Van Aken, and Dean Fearing at the grand opening of NORMAN'S in Orlando, an event transforming lives in support of Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).


Grand opening of NORMAN’S by James Beard Award Winner Norman Van Aken in Orlando, an event benefiting Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).


(L to R) - Chef Norman Van Aken, Co-Owner of NORMAN’S Kim Wood, and Chefs Dean Fearing and Ming Tsai at the grand opening of NORMAN’S in Orlando, an event benefiting Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).



(Left Image, L to R) - Chef Norman Van Aken and Chef Ming Tsai at the grand opening of NORMAN’S in Orlando, an event benefiting Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).


(Right Image, L to R) - Co-Owner of NORMAN’S Kim Wood and Chef Dean Fearing at the grand opening of NORMAN’S in Orlando, an event benefiting Kids Beating Cancer® (Photo Credit: Alley and Joey Photography).


NORMAN’S is located in the Dellagio Town Center at 7924 Via Dellagio Way in Orlando, FL. NORMAN’S is open daily: The Main Dining Room is open from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; The Terrace is open from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday-Sunday) and from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Thursday-Saturday). NORMAN’S Social Hour is held Monday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For reservations: (321) 754-1025 or OpenTable. The Terrace welcomes walk-ins on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit: normans.com. Follow on Instagram: @normansorlando.


By ML Staff. Images Courtesy Of Norman's

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