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Academy of Culinary Arts Awards Medals, Certificates to New Chefs

December 20, 2007

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. 20.

Seventeen graduates honed their skills in the Academy's Culinary Arts program, and six completed the Baking and Pastry program. Ten students completed short-term, specialized training to earn certificates in Baking and Pastry, Catering, Food Service Management and Hot Food.

The awards ceremony, held in the college's Walter Edge Theater, 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. Robert Harre, '83 ACA of Seaville, was the guest speaker. He is vice president and co-founder of Stockmasters, which markets its product line as Stuffin Gourmet on QVC. A reception at Careme's, the on-campus, student-run gourmet restaurant, followed the ceremony.

Mary Ellen Parfinik of Jackson was named valedictorian and winner of the Nathan Schwartz Award, which is presented to the top student of each graduating class. Edward J. Soehngen Jr. of Little Egg Harbor was salutatorian.

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


Anthony Bell, Smithville-Bronze, Culinary Arts

Matthew Berardi, Somers Point-Silver, Culinary Arts and Hot Food Specialization

Daniel Burga, Pleasantville-Food Service Management and Catering specializations

Anthony Cekada, Somers Point-Silver, Culinary Arts

Denise Conover, Ventnor-Certificate, Baking and Pastry Specialization

Rebecca Leon, Absecon-Certificate, Culinary Arts

Daniel Ocampo, Mays Landing-Food Service Management Specialization

Jennifer Quig, Brigantine-Bronze, Baking and Pastry

Laurie Zimmerman, Landisville-Silver, Culinary Arts

Christopher Zolda, Hammonton-Certificate, Culinary Arts, Hot Food Specialization


Holly Bloodworth, Medford Lakes-Baking and Pastry Specialization

Noel Bloodworth, Medford Lakes-Bronze, Culinary Arts

Shakur Burton, Pemberton-Bronze, Culinary Arts

Melanie DiGiacomo, New Gretna-Silver, Baking and Pastry

Kristin Guerina, Medford-Baking and Pastry Specialization

Shane Menzel, Marlton-Silver, Culinary Arts

Josh Williams, Marlton-Bronze, Culinary Arts


Joseph Nicoletta, Cape May Court House-Silver, Culinary Arts

Julia Pearce, Ocean View-Silver, Baking and Pastry

Robert Quirk, Petersburg-Silver, Culinary Arts


Michael Inferrera, Millville-Bronze, Culinary Arts


Leighanne Carroll, Mantua-Bronze, Culinary Arts

Lynsey Longwith, Williamstown-Gold, Baking and Pastry

Meaghan Sagers, Wenonah-Bronze, Baking and Pastry


Chris Bolha, Flemington-Silver, Culinary Arts


Karen Kaszuba, Middletown-Baking and Pastry Specialization


Deborah Newmeyer, Barnegat-Certificate, Baking and Pastry Specialization

David Nordfors, Jackson-Hot Food Specialization

Mary Ellen Parfinik, Jackson-Gold, Culinary Arts

Edward J. Soehngen Jr., Little Egg Harbor-Gold, Culinary Arts


Lindley Thacker, Hamburg-Gold, Baking and Pastry

The ACA opened in 1981 on ACCC's Mays Landing Campus to meet the growing needs of the hospitality industry. Full-time classes meet five hours a day, Monday through Friday, in a morning or afternoon session from January through May and August through December. Part-time and evening classes are also available. As part of their training, students operate Careme's, a gourmet restaurant on the college's campus.

Academy graduates can be found in kitchens around the world in major hotel and restaurant chains, while many have gone on to open their own restaurants and catering businesses. For more information on the Academy of Culinary Arts, call 1-800-645‑CHEF, e-mail, or visit the ACA online at