Award-Winning Chef Norman Van Aken Helps Create Culinary Adventures at Busch Gardens

Chef Norman Van Aken - Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival

This spring, the Busch Gardens® Food & Wine Festival is feeding guests’ appetites for adventure with wild flavors and concerts for every taste on Saturdays and Sundays from March 7 through April 26. In addition to Busch Gardens’ own Executive Chef Ron DeBonis, acclaimed Chef Norman Van Aken, founder of NORMAN’S at The Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, has helped inspire these culinary masterpieces.

Referred to as the “Father of New World Cuisine,” Chef Van Aken has several culinary awards, including a James Beard Award and was honored as one of the “Founders of the New America Cuisine” at Madrid Fusion. And this year Chef Van Aken will represent Florida at the USA Pavilion at EXPO Milano as part of the World’s Fair, titled “American Food 2.0, United to Feed the Planet.” 

He’s also the author of six cookbooks and was selected by The Tampa Bay Times as “one of the 25 people who mattered the most in Florida’s history.” Van Aken’s restaurant, NORMAN’S, was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America,” and Chef Van Aken is the only Floridian inducted into the James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.”

Fans can find Chef Van Aken during the opening weekend of the Food & Wine Festival on March 7-8. In addition to making appearances throughout the Festival grounds, he will also do a book signing on Saturday, March 7. Be sure to check for the latest information.

Busch Gardens invites guests to unleash their inner foodie during the inaugural Food & Wine Festival with an exciting variety of sample-size tastings of delicious cuisine and spirits, tempting taste buds like never before. Plus, the Food & Wine Festival brings together the best in pop, soft rock, Latin, country, contemporary and classic music during live concerts every event day on Gwazi Field.

The Festival is included with any Pass, Fun Card or daily admission. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

For more information, visit Or, be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at, and join the conversation by using  on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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