ATLANTIC CITY – The 40th annual Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala held at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center Thursday, March 9 raised a record amount of money in support of students at the college’s Academy of Culinary Arts.

The Ruby Gala not only honored student chefs enrolled in the culinary arts program, it also honored members of the food service industry who have supported the gala fundraiser since its inception. Area restaurants supply all of the food served at the dine-around dinner.

Over its 40-year history, the Restaurant Gala has raised more than $3.8 million for culinary scholarships and student support.

The Mainland Regional High School’s Marching Mustangs formed a drum line to welcome the culinary students to the front of the ballroom where they held up a big check indicating the event raised the greatest amount since the first gala was held in 1984. Atlantic Cape Foundation President James M. Rutala announced the event raised $284,575 for student support.

A highlight of the evening was honoring establishments involved since 1984 – Ed Blake, Joseph Massaglia and Johnny “Scannicchio” Varalli, with a special tribute in memory of James L. Cooper.

Culinary students provided some of the hors d’oeuvres offered during the hourlong cocktail reception, including an Atlantic City Beach Patrol surf boat filled with shrimp and freshly shucked clams and oysters.

Guests dined on signature dishes and desserts from the area’s finest establishments, and sampled libations from local wineries, breweries and distilleries. The event included an open bar, photo booth and live entertainment by Plaid Salmon.

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Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.