Academy of Culinary Arts Awards Medals To New Chefs at Dec. 17 Ceremony


Keynote speaker Stephen Serano, adjunct instructor at the ACA, addresses the graduates and audience during the Awards Ceremony Thursday, Dec. 17.

The Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College awarded culinary medals and certificates to nearly 40 new chefs and baking and pastry professionals prepared with the latest culinary knowledge on Thursday, Dec.17.

Eighteen graduates honed their skills in the Academy’s Culinary Arts program, and 14 completed the Baking and Pastry program. Six short-term specialization certificates in Baking and Pastry, Food Service Management, and Hot Foods were awarded.


Valedictorian and Nathan Schwartz Award recipient, Taylor Borz of Collings Lake, addresses the 2015 Academy of Culinary Arts graduates.

The awards ceremony was held in the college’s Walter Edge Theater on the Mays Landing Campus, and honored the graduates with gold, silver or bronze medals or certificates based on their grade point averages and criteria established by the American Culinary Federation. Specialization graduates received certificates of completion. A reception at Careme’s, the on-campus, student-run gourmet restaurant, followed the ceremony.

Taylor Borz of Collings Lakes was named valedictorian and winner of the Nathan Schwartz Award, which is presented to the top student of each graduating class. Borz spoke of many things she learned while being at the Academy including, “A mistake is only a failure if you do not learn from it.”


Prior to the awards ceremony, graduates line up, from left to right, Molly Carter of Millville, Madilyn Barr of Millville, Ashly Badger of Williamstown, Jeffrey Allen of Jackson and Wesley Adkins of West Cape May.

The keynote speaker was Academy of Culinary Arts adjunct instructor Steven Serano, owner of Café Loren in Avalon, a 1996 Academy of Culinary Arts graduate, and the 2016 Culinary Honoree for the Restaurant Gala.

PHOTO 5Serano advised graduates, “Constantly sharpen yourself, whether by continuing your education, traveling or reading­–the sharpest knife will grow dull if it is not regularly sharpened. Treat everyone with respect and they will do the same.”


Serano’s employees at Café Loren are all ACA graduates. He said, “ACA graduates are the hardest working people I know in the industry.”

Culinary Student Association representative Matthew Hennessey presented Culinary Student Association awards to Erinn Hendricks, Imani Johnson and Jeffrey Allen for their dedication to the student club.

Corina Riad and Danielle Ziegler of the Baking and Pastry Student Association presented awards to dedicated club members, Emily Dunn, Aimee Fischer and Brianna Wright.


Prior to the awards ceremony, graduates line up, from left to right, Emily Dunn of Berlin, Aimee Fischer of Toms River, and Michele Fulford of Egg Harbor Township.


Honorees, their hometowns (by county) and their awards are:


Taylor Borz, Collings Lakes — Gold, Baking & Pastry

Michele Fulford, Egg Harbor Township — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Tristan Fulford, Egg Harbor Township — Silver, Culinary Arts

Gregory Giebler, Mays Landing — Silver, Culinary Arts

Jose Otto, Somers Point — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Julieanna Rios, Egg Harbor Township ­­— Certificate, Baking & Pastry Specialization

Beverly Rivas-Eastman, Atlantic City — Silver, Culinary Arts

Aida Santiago, Egg Harbor Township ­­— Certificate, Baking & Pastry Specialization

Kelsey Selwood, Egg Harbor City — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Heather Smith, Mays Landing—Certificate, Hot Foods Specialization



Evan Collotti, Audubon — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Timothy Decerchio, Sicklerville — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Emily Dunn, Berlin — Gold, Baking & Pastry

Imani Johnson, Berlin — Silver, Culinary Arts

Laura Wilson, Blackwood — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Blaise Votta, Westmont — Certificate, Food Service Management Specialization




Wesley Adkins, West Cape May — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Emily Newton, North Cape May — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Austin Schwartz, Cape May — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Alexandra Teise, Cape May Court House — Bronze, Baking & Pastry

Katelyn Viscusi, Ocean City — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Maya Williams, Chesilhurst — Silver, Culinary Arts



Madilyn Barr, Millville —Gold, Culinary Arts

Molly Carter, Millville — Silver, Culinary Arts

Erinn Hendricks, Millville — Gold, Culinary Arts

Rickey Hewitt, Millville — Certificate, Hot Foods Specialization



Ashly Badger, Williamstown — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Julianna Blaszyk, Westville — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Emily Garber, Turnersville — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Samantha Robinson, National Park — Bronze, Baking & Pastry



Jeffrey Allen, Jackson — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Aimee Fischer, Toms River — Gold, Baking & Pastry

Jenna Santiago, Little Egg Harbor — Bronze, Culinary Arts

Brianna Wright, Point Pleasant — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Bryanna Varner, Bayville — Silver, Baking & Pastry

Kevin Zak, Little Egg Harbor — Silver, Culinary Arts



Brayerton Buckson, Pittsgrove — Certificate, Food Service Management

Zachary Hill, Pittsgrove — Silver, Culinary Arts


The ACA has been training future chefs for more than 30 years. Academy graduates can be found in kitchens around the world in major hotel and restaurant chains, while others have gone on to open their own restaurants and catering businesses. For more information about the Academy of Culinary Arts, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, email, or visit the ACA online at

Spring classes begin Jan. 19. Seats and scholarships are available. To register, call Valerie Weller at (609) 343-4944.

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