Orlando area's Chef Norman Van Aken declines invite to cook for Donald Trump


Chef Norman Van Aken opened his Mt. Dora restaurant in June 2016. - ROB BARTLETT
  • Rob Bartlett
  • Chef Norman Van Aken opened his Mt. Dora restaurant in June 2016.
Chef Norman Van Aken, who owns award-winning restaurants in both Orlando and Mount Dora, declined to cook at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser event hosted by President Donald Trump and his son Eric.

According the Miami Herald, Van Aken was asked last month to cook for 250 people at the fundraising event, which benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

"I would not feel it to be honorable of me to seem to align myself with the policies of the Trump administration as it might be concluded by cooking there," said the James Beard award winner. "I would love to be able to help St. Jude’s as it is a remarkable organization. If you find a client that would like my services that promotes socially just politics that are inclusive to women, the poor, immigrants, the LGBTQIA, please let me know."

Van Aken's local restaurants, 1921 in Mount Dora and Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes on Central Florida Parkway in Orlando, were both included in the top 10 of Orlando Weekly food critic Faiyaz Kara's recent "55 Best Restaurants in Orlando."

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