Celebrity Chef Norman Van Aken Visits Luther Acres

Chef Norman Van Aken, second from right, prepares a special recipe with Luther Acres residents.


The annual summer picnic is one of our favorite events at Luther Acres, and this year’s festivities included a special visit and interactive cooking demonstration from celebrity chef Norman Van Aken.

Van Aken – best known for introducing “fusion” into modern cookery and considered to be the founding father of New World Cuisine – led a “Teaching Kitchen” alongside eight Luther Acres residents on Wednesday, June 14, in the campus Community Room. They prepared roasted and shredded chicken salad sandwiches with chimichurri mayo and peppadew-black olive pasta salad in front of an audience of about 75 residents and team members. Both dishes were served during the picnic meal later that evening. He also autographed copies of his cookbook, “Florida’s Kitchen,” and posed for photos with residents and staff members.

Van Aken, a Florida-based chef, is acclaimed for pioneering a new, visionary way of cooking in America by blending Latin, Caribbean, Asian and American flavors in his cuisine. The Smithsonian Magazine describes Chef Norman in this way: “Before the celebrity chef craze… before the start of Food Network, Norman Van Aken was starting a revolution. He was doing something unheard of at the time, taking local ethnic flavors, merging them together at restaurants where he worked.”

He has been inducted into the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.” He won the James Beard “Best Chef of the South” and was a 2016 MenuMasters Hall of Fame inductee. His namesake restaurant, Norman’s in Coral Gables, Fla., was nominated as a finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant in America.” Over his career, has opened 24 restaurants and has written six cookbooks (Feast of Sunlight; The Exotic Fruit Book; Norman’s New World Cuisine; New World Kitchen; My Key West Kitchen; Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen) and a memoir (No Experience Necessary… The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken). He has appeared on various television shows and is often cited as a culinary expert in publications.

Chef Norman’s appearance is part of Morrison Living’s Celebrity Chef Series, offered in partnership with Luther Acres to bring interactive and engaging culinary experiences to residents. Morrison Living is the culinary services provider for Luther Acres and other Luthercare communities.

About Luthercare: Luthercare is a not-for-profit, faith-based, and mission-driven organization with a long history of providing excellent care and services in southcentral Pennsylvania. Founded in 1949 and affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Luthercare today operates three communities – Luther Acres, St. John’s Herr Estate, and Spang in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties – and offers a network of care and services for older adults, including long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, memory support, personal care, and independent living. Additionally, Luthercare operates three PA Keystone Stars-accredited childcare and early learning centers in Annville, Marietta and Reamstown. Luthercare, a pioneer in childcare programs, also offers a mentoring program, which aids home-based childcare providers in Lancaster County. The organization is guided by its mission to reflect Christ’s love through service to others.

2024 Luthercare. 600 E. Main Street | Lititz , PA 17543 | Telephone 717.626.1171 | Fax 717.626.1610