Atlantic Cape names McClay educator of the year

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Chef Patricia “Kelly” McClay, dean of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts, was named educator of the year by the Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey, a chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

McClay, who lives in Mays Landing, was honored at the organization’s 38th annual President’s Scholarship Ball held Feb. 12 at the Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City.

Presenters said she received the award based on how her knowledge, skills and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef.

McClay, a certified executive chef and culinary educator, also helped students use their new skills to define and develop their careers to provide a strong foundation for success.

Her professional experience includes working at the Ramada Corporation’s hotel in Washington, D.C.

In 1981, McClay returned to her native Atlantic City, working successively at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, Marriott’s Seaview Country Club and the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino. She then became executive sous chef at Resorts International.

McClay joined the Culinary Arts Academy in 1994. She became assistant director in 1996 and acting dean in 2006, and was promoted to dean in September 2007.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Drexel University in 2004 and is working toward a master’s of business administration at Rutgers University.

The Professional Chefs Association of South Jersey promotes the culinary profession and provides its 140 members with educational training and networking. It provides opportunities for competition, professional recognition and access to educational forums at local, regional, national and international events.

The Academy of Culinary Arts at the college’s Mays Landing Campus has trained chefs and food service professionals since 1981.

The ACA is celebrating its 30th year this year with a series of events.

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