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Academy of Culinary Arts Awards Medals to New Chefs at Dec. 19 Ceremony

December 19, 2013

The Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College awarded culinary medals and certificates to more than 30 new chefs and baking and pastry professionals prepared with the latest culinary knowledge on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Twenty-four graduates honed their skills in the Academy’s Culinary Arts program, and nine completed the Baking and Pastry program. Five short-term specialization certificates in Baking and Pastry, Hot Food and Food Service Management 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.

Arielle Toronto of Marlton, was named valedictorian and winner of the Nathan Schwartz Award, which is presented to the top student of each graduating class. The keynote speaker was Tom Biglan, executive chef at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

“It’s an exciting time to be a culinary professional. Try anything and everything you can to further your culinary knowledge,” Biglan advised the graduates. “The real reward will be the privilege of doing what you love.”

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


Devin Courtney, Egg Harbor Township—Silver, Culinary Arts and Certificate, Hot Food Specialization

Tusheeway Henderson, Newtonville—Bronze, Baking & Pastry

Jaime LaPinta, Absecon—Certificate, Baking & Pastry Specialization

Derik Ludlam, Villas—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Shawn Owens, Egg Harbor Township—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Brian Peters, Egg Harbor Township—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Anthony Rando, Northfield—Gold, Culinary Arts and Certificate, Food Service Management Specialization

Javier Rodriguez, Egg Harbor Township—Gold, Culinary Arts

David Roman, Atlantic City—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Stacy Simmerman, Mullica Hill—Gold, Baking & Pastry

Matthew Strenger, Egg Harbor City—Silver, Baking & Pastry

Deanna Weiand, Egg Harbor Township—Silver, Baking & Pastry


Arielle Toronto, Marlton—Gold, Baking & Pastry


Breanne Blair, Pennsauken—Certificate, Baking & Pastry Specialization

Amy Bobel, Greenloch—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Matthew Briglia, Cedarbrook—Silver, Culinary Arts

Meghan DePalma, Atco—Gold, Baking & Pastry

Amber Ferris, Clemonton—Silver, Baking & Pastry

Jennifer Marthins, Blackwood—Certificate, Baking & Pastry

Caitlin McElroy, Stratford—Gold, Baking & Pastry

Devyn Seigfried, Cherry Hill—Gold, Culinary Arts


Vanessa Burk, Ocean City—Gold, Culinary Arts

Rachel Zarycki, Cape May Court House—Silver, Culinary Arts


George Buriak, Williamstown—Silver, Culinary Arts

Jessica Cramer, Glassboro—Bronze, Baking & Pastry

Dante Howell, Newfield—Silver, Culinary Arts

Michelle Lewis, Northfield—Gold, Culinary Arts

Kyle Melnick, Mantua—Silver, Culinary Arts

Kevin Smiley, Williamstown—Certificate, Culinary Arts

Marissa Thorpe, Williamstown—Silver, Culinary Arts

Gary Tunnicliffe, Westville—Bronze, Culinary Arts

Katie Yenner, Monroeville—Certificate, Baking & Pastry Specialization


Kevin Fenchel, Toms River—Bronze, Culinary Arts


Yaisha Ortiz, Philadelphia—Bronze, 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 Tuesday, Jan. 21. Seats and a limited number of scholarships are still available. To register, call Valerie Weller at (609) 343-4944.