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ACA's Chef Kelly McClay Named Educator of the Year

February 22, 2012

Chef Patricia “Kelly” McClay, dean of the Academy of Culinary Arts, was named Educator of the Year by the Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey, a chapter of the American Culinary Federation. McClay, of Mays Landing, was honored at the organization’s 38th Annual President’s Scholarship Ball, Feb. 12, at One Atlantic at The Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City.

The award is presented to an educator whose knowledge, skills and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef. The recipient should also demonstrate the ability to help students define and develop their careers by using their skills and abilities to provide a strong foundation for their future success.

McClay is a Certified Executive Chef and a Certified Culinary Educator. Her professional experience includes working at the Ramada Corporation’s hotel in Washington, D.C. In 1981, she returned to her native Atlantic City, working successively in the kitchens of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, Marriott’s Seaview Country Club and the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino before becoming executive sous chef at Resorts International. McClay has been with the Academy since 1994. She became an assistant director in 1996, acting dean in 2006 and was promoted to dean in September 2007.

McClay earned a bachelor’s degree from Drexel University in 2004 and is working toward a master of business administration at Rutgers University.

The Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey promotes the culinary profession and provides ongoing educational training and networking for members. It provides opportunities for competition, professional recognition and access to educational forums with other culinarians at local, regional, national and international events for its 140 local junior, student and associate members.

The ACA is located at Atlantic Cape’s Mays Landing Campus and has been training future chefs and food service professionals since 1981. This year, the ACA is celebrating 30 years of culinary achievement with a series of events - For more information, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, e-mail or visit