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Chef Norman Van Aken Scores International Gastronomy Prize

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Compared to, say New York, Miami might not generally be considered the gastronomy capital of the country. But with an ever-increasing influx of impressive chefs and outstanding eateries -- we're coming up in the world.

The latest sign of our city's growing culinary cred is the recent awarding of the Grand Prix Gastronomic Culture Prize to legendary Chef Norman Van Aken. This is the first time the International Academy of Gastronomy (AIG) has given this prestigious prize to an American -- and a Miamian at that!

See also: Taste America: Mendin, Van Aken, Rapicavoli, Susser, and Others Describe Worst Cooking Moments

Van Aken is known as "the founding father of New World Cuisine" for his famous mash-ups of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American eats. And obviously, his rep extends past American shores. The AIG doles out awards in several areas, from the science of food to sommelier skills.

"One of these magnificent awards is going for the first time to an American winner - Norman Van Aken. He won by being involved in a culture of gastronomy, teaching his new innovations, etc," says Dr. Sevi Avigdor, President of the American Academy of Gastronomy - East Chapter. "I pushed for this a year ago and I brought it up against many other countries. Germany had wonderful candidates, Italy, too -- but we won."

The decision was made by the Academy, which is made up of 28 member countries including France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom. And the vote was unanimous. Booyah.

See also: Norman Van Aken: Culinary School Will Definitely Make You a Better Chef

The AIG was founded 30 years ago, and they're all about promoting the products and cuisine of the countries involved, plus pushing healthy eating in the modern world of gastronomy.

"This is a non-profit organization. It's not an eating and drinking club like many others. This focuses on healthy food, publications about food, preserving the recipes of each region, having children eating at the table with their parents, etc." Avigdor adds.

As a joint effort with HistoryMiami, he'll be honored at a private reception on November 8. Kudos to a dude who's helping Miami make its international mark on the culinary landscape!

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