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Restaurant Gala raises $155,000 for culinary scholarships (VIDEO)

Sophia Papastamelos of Sophia’s in Margate poses with her staff Maria Erhardt, Michelle Gaagliardi and Christina Dianantes. Sophia Papastamelos of Sophia’s in Margate poses with her staff Maria Erhardt, Michelle Gaagliardi and Christina Dianantes. ATLANTIC CITY ­– Atlantic Cape Community College held its 31st annual Restaurant Gala at Bally’s Casino Hotel Thursday, March 13. The gala was attended by more than 800 friends of the Academy of Culinary Arts, which has provided the restaurant industry with quality chefs for as many years. The sumptuous offerings from 40 of the area’s best restaurants, fabulous music by FM and Don’t Call Me Francis bands and vintage carnival décor made it “The Greatest Gala on Earth.”

ACA 1984 graduate Peter Slavin, who became a world class chef and later founded Fear No Ice entertained the crowd of supporters with a performance ice carving during the cocktail reception held in the Traymore ballroom. Across the room, lemon drop martinis flowed through a block of ice into cocktail glasses, tables of ice covered in shellfish offered appetizing treats, and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres prepared by students of the culinary academy during a three-day preparation frenzy delighted guests.

Culinary students lined the path to offer thanks to guests as they left the cocktail reception and entered the Ocean and Grand ballrooms, where participating restaurants provided tastings of their food to entice diners to visit their restaurants.

Executive Pastry Chef Deb Pellegrino of Caesars Entertainment, who is also a graduate of the academy, offered an elegant dessert reception with a circus food theme to top the night.

The event honored Anthony Catonoso of the family owned and operated Steel Pier Associates of Atlantic City, which is leading a five-year renovation at Steel Pier that will be an integral part of the city’s resurgence.

The event raised $155,000 for culinary student scholarships. The gala has raised more than $3 million since the academy opened in 1983.


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