MAYS LANDING — Atlantic Cape Community College's 35th annual Restaurant Gala will honor Caesars Entertainment Regional President Kevin Ortzman and Academy of Culinary Arts graduate and local chef Georgeann Leaming at the March 28 event at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City.
An Atlantic City native, Ortzman, returned to the Atlantic City region after spending seven years with Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. His immediate influence in Atlantic City helped him garner his leadership role as president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, which he has held since 2014. Before returning to Atlantic City, Ortzman was assistant regional manager and vice president of finance for Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood, overseeing property operations, customer service, entertainment, finance and accounting. He was a key contributor to the acquisition and integration of the Planet Hollywood Resort Casino into the Caesars Entertainment brand.
Leaming, of Brigantine, is executive chef of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Kitchen in Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino. Despite wide regard as a fan favorite and Season 19 champion of The Food Network’s Chopped! series, and a diverse background that spans from popular Philadelphia eateries to upscale Italian cuisine, Leaming is undoubtedly considered a “late bloomer” by traditional culinary standards. It wasn’t until the age of 23, while working as a preschool teacher and pregnant with her daughter Kirsten that Leaming decided to take a risk by enrolling at the Academy of Culinary Arts to pursue her childhood fascination of cooking and food. She graduated from the academy in 1999.
The gala theme this year is “Culinary Magic,” showcasing the extraordinary talent and cooking expertise of the students and alumni of the Academy of Culinary Arts.
The gala will also recognize the 2017 passing of James L. Cooper, a visionary and driving force behind the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation. Cooper was a long-standing champion of the college's mission and a strong supporter of the gala.
The annual event celebrates food with hors d’oeuvres prepared by students at the Academy of Culinary Arts beginning at 6 p.m., and original dishes from 40 of the area’s best restaurants. An elegant dessert reception and live entertainment will complete the evening’s festivities.
The event has raised $3 million for scholarships since 1984. All gala proceeds benefit student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College and Atlantic Cape Foundation operations.