My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

Overview

My Key West Kitchen is chef Van Aken's love letter to Key West, where he first found the passion to cook, and where the unique cultural makeup of the island influenced his cuisine today—from the "little joints" of the island to the locals' home cooking—as well as recipes from Norman's past and present. The colorful stories behind the recipes make My Key West Kitchen essential reading both in and out of the kitchen.
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Overview

My Key West Kitchen is chef Van Aken's love letter to Key West, where he first found the passion to cook, and where the unique cultural makeup of the island influenced his cuisine today—from the "little joints" of the island to the locals' home cooking—as well as recipes from Norman's past and present. The colorful stories behind the recipes make My Key West Kitchen essential reading both in and out of the kitchen.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“My Key West Kitchen is a brilliant tour of one of the most special places in America, the intersection of the South and the Islands. The cuisine of Key West is a delicious conflation of cultures that only Norman Van Aken, the king of the island, could adequately teach.” —Mario Batali

“Norman is one of the most gifted chefs I know and a dear friend. It’s pretty incredible to get to see Key West through the eyes of Norman and his son Justin. This book gives you a great understanding of the charm, culture and food of Key West that they fell in love with and thankfully share with all of us.”
—Emeril Lagasse

“My Key West Kitchen is a wonderful collection of recipes that perfectly demonstrates how one place can influence, create and shape an authentic chef.” —Marcus Samuelsson

John Besh
“Simply put, this cookbook makes me want to take a trip to Key West! The Van Akens’ inspiring dishes give a true sense of place and their passion about their roots shines through in every chapter.”—John Besh
Southern Living, November 2012 - Paula Disbrowe
"A culinary Valentine to the land of spectacular sunsets, conch fritters, and key lime pie.... The sweet and nostalgic stories behind the recipes make My Key West Kitchen essential reading both in and out of the beach house."
epicurious, 12/7/2012 - Esther Sung
I've been to Florida once. The Miami/South Beach scene is quite memorable, but ultimately, it's not really for me. The one part of Florida that does fascinate me (other than the Everglades) is the Florida Keys, in particular Key West. Maybe it has to do with its literary heritage (Papa Hemingway, Tennessee Williams), although it's hard to deny the allure of white sand beaches and a tropical climate. But thanks to Norman Van Aken and Justin Van Aken's My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories (Kyle), I can now add to that list, the island's food.
Take a look at a map and you'll see just how close Key West is to its Caribbean and Latin American neighbors. So it's really no surprise, then, that so many of the food and recipes the senior Van Aken writes about reflect the geography. Mollete Sandwiches, Chuletas Empanizadas, and Bahamian Conch Chowder are just a few examples. But perhaps the most endearing aspect of the book are the loving tributes to Key West personalities and locales done in a way that the Van Akens know best--through food. Woven throughout it all is Norman Van Aken's own story of how he became a chef and how the Illinois-native ended up in Florida. The energy and feel to Key West seems unlike any place else; don't be surprised if you have the urge to book a flight down after reading this book. But in case you can't, you'll be glad you have the recipes in hand to enjoy a little taste of the Conch Republic.
12/11/12 Kitchen Arts & Letters
Few cookbooks have ever done such an enticing job of putting forth the charms of a town as this tribute to the place where Norman began a culinary career built around the fusion of New World flavors he discovered there. Touring Key West by neighborhood, he and his son show off a delightful diversity of flavor: caramelized plantain soup with smoked ham and sour cream; conch and grits with salsa rosa; seared beef salad with soy-lime-chile dressing and soba noodles. Fun!
12/27/13 Key West Keynoter
"My Key West Kitchen" is Van Aken's love letter to Key West, where he first found the passion to cook, and where the unique cultural makeup of the island influenced his cuisine. The colorful stories behind the recipes make "My Key West Kitchen" essential reading both in and out of the kitchen.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906868758
  • Publisher: Kyle Books
  • Publication date: 11/16/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 331,140
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Van Aken is the Director of Restaurants of Miami Culinary Institute/"TUYO" and NORMAN'S at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando. Justin Van Aken, a culinary consultant and a chef as well, specializes in food preservation techniques and sustainability. Together they have formed Van Aken Consulting, Inc. Both authors split their time between Miami and Key West.
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