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.
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.”
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.
Serano 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.
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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 email@example.com, or visit the ACA online at www.atlantic.edu/aca.
Spring classes begin Jan. 19. Seats and scholarships are available. To register, call Valerie Weller at (609) 343-4944.