The James Beard Foundation honors Orlando's top chefs.
In recent years, the Orlando culinary scene has emerged as a world-class destination, and visitors aren’t the only ones taking notice. Several area restaurants have gotten a nod from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. And the Oscar goes to ... Norman Van Aken, who is said to be the founder of new world cuisine, is the head chef of the Ritz-Carlton’s Norman’s and is the author of several cookbooks. Van Aken is the only Florida chef who’s been inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.” Norman’s has also been nominated for “Best Restaurant in America,” and Van Aken has been a semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America.” Scott Hunnel of Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian landmark Victoria & Albert’s has been a nominee for “Best Chef in the South” for seven years in a row. Victoria & Albert’s is the area’s only five-star restaurant. James and Julie Petrakis of Winter Park’s Southern staples Ravenous Pig and Cask and Larder have been nominated three years in a row. Other nominees include Brandon McGlamery of Luma on Park in Winter Park, Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant in College Park and Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon on Church Street downtown.