Norman Van Aken has announced the appointment of a new chef to be director of culinary operations at his Orlando restaurant, Norman’s. Brandon Benack will take over the kitchen at the upscale restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes immediately. He replaces Joseph Burnett. Burnett’s wife, Viviana Altesor, had also served as chef at Norman’s and had been general manager. Both Burnett and Altesor have left the operation.
“It is our pleasure to announce Chef Brandon Benack as our new Director of Culinary Operations in Orlando,” Van Aken said in a statement. “We are poised for a period of unprecedented growth and are excited by the possibilities that Chef Brandon brings to Norman’s.” Benack will be directed by Van Aken in the execution of his acclaimed “New World Cuisine.” He will also work with Stacy Cofield, director of operations.
Benack comes to Norman’s from Emeril’s Miami Beach where he was chef de cuisine. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work so closely with Chef Norman Van Aken, an American legend,” said Benack. “I am looking forward to expanding my responsibilities and to being a part of this talented team.”
Norman’s opened at the Ritz-Carlton in 2003. At the time it was a second location for Van Aken’s eponymous brand. The Miami Norman’s has since closed.