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Academy Students Bring Home Gold Medals from New York Food Show

November 17, 2006

Academy of Culinary Arts teams returned from New York City's annual "Salon of Culinary Art" with two gold medals for their entries in the centerpiece and meat categories.

Held Nov. 11-14 at the 91st International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, the Salon featured breathtaking creations of master chefs, pastry chefs, bakers, butchers, culinarians and apprentices from around the world competing in an array of categories. Known as the world's largest freelance culinary arts exhibit and dubbed the most prestigious competition on the East Coast, the show is organized annually by the Société Culinaire Philanthropique.

The winning centerpiece team prepared an intricate salt dough centerpiece titled "An Honorable Profession," which featured a chef standing atop pillars. Team members, coached by former ACA dean Chef Klaus Muller, were Anthony Cekada of Somers Point, Robert Quirk of Petersburg and Barry Mostyn of Cherry Hill.

The meat category included three teams that prepared a selection of hors d'oeuvres, cold and hot foods. Chef Kelly McClay, acting dean of the Academy, coached the hors d'oeuvres team. The team included students Sheha Waters of Bloomfield, Helen Peter of Cedar Run, Sherry Caputo of Galloway, Jennifer Townsel of Ventnor, Caitlin Crossin of Haddon Heights, Mary Ellen Parfinik of Jackson, Alex Konrady of Egg Harbor City and Dominic Handy of Atlantic City.

ACA Chef Supervisor Bruce Johns coached the cold food team, which included students Clarissa Lopez of Brigantine, Scott Carlino of Brick, Megan Lenahan of Waretown, Alex Kaps of Brigantine, Stephen Daly of Medford, Jennifer Quig of Brigantine and Randi Wallace of Cherry Hill.

Adjunct instructors Chef Jon Davies and Chef Lynn Kolb coached the hot food team, including students Marco Piro of North Wildwood, Ed Soehngen of Little Egg Harbor, Marcus Anderson of Pemberton, Steve Harris of Atlantic City, Juliano Cannuscio of Galloway and Nyla McCroskey of Pitman.

The students spent hundreds of hours throughout the fall planning menus and fine-tuning their presentation in the Academy's teaching kitchens. The ACA students competed against teams from other culinary schools including Johnson & Wales, the Culinary Institute of America, and industry professionals.

"For some of our students this is a once in a lifetime achievement," McClay said. "When they are working in the industry, many of them will not have the time or opportunity to compete at this level."

The ACA has a history of success at the Salon of Culinary Art, including four silver medals in 1998, four gold medals in 2000, and a gold medal in 2002.