Remodeling any building takes patience. Transforming a historic building into a premier dining destination requires a different level of patience.
Luckily, celebrity Chef Norman Van Aken and his experienced management team arrived well-equipped with tons of passion and patience to pursue their culinary vision in Mount Dora.
"1921 by Norman Van Aken" is the James Beard Award-winning chef's new downtown restaurant under construction. The historic converted home built in 1921 is the area's much anticipated, fine dining venue featuring a modern Florida cuisine. Although the restaurant was expected to open earlier, a June opening is now targeted due to the extensive renovation process, according to Scott Geisler, 1921's general manager.
The impressive setting will include seating for approximately 150 diners, a state-of-the-art open kitchen, full bar, chef's table for up to ten guests and decor reflecting the restaurant's partnership with the Modernism Museum Mount Dora.
1921 will have strong influences from the diverse cuisines of Southern Florida, as well as Southern traditions from Northern Florida and will access local farms for much of its produce.
A cookbook author and culinary trailblazer known for introducing "fusion" into the culinary arts, Van Aken is widely credited for developing New World Cuisine. He is currently the chef-owner of “Norman's" at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando.
Van Aken has entrusted Camilo Velasco, as chef de cuisine of 1921. The talented, Columbian-born chef and Geisler enjoyed collaborating together previously at Norman's award-winning, Orlando location. Before re-joining Van Aken, Geisler managed the celebrated The Ravenous Pig in Orlando.
1921 will also feature craft cocktails and an extensive wine list to rival any in the state. It will offer a selection of old world and new wines available by the glass or the bottle to accommodate differing tastes, according to Geisler who is also a passionate sommelier.
Van Aken is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage" and was honored as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award “Best Chef in America, the culinary world's equivalent of an Oscar.
1921 is currently looking for people passionate about food to join their staff. Anyone interested can stop by the 142 E. 4th Avenue location to fill out an application.
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Above: Chef Norman Van Aken. Below: Entrance to 1921