MAYS LANDING - 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 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 Cafe 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 academy 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 of Millville, Imani Johnson of Berlin and Jeffrey Allen of Jackson 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 of Berlin, Aimee Fischer of Toms River and Brianna Wright of Point Pleasant.


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.

For academy information, call (800) 645 CHEF, email or visit

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

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