Return to All News

35th Annual Restaurant Gala Honors Kevin Ortzman and Local Chef, ACA Graduate Georgeann Leaming

02/05/2018 | Media Contact: Erin Mercer | (609) 343-4923

The Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala will mark its 35th annual event by honoring Kevin Ortzman, regional president for Caesars Entertainment (Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City), 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.

man smilingAn Atlantic City native, Ortzman, his wife and three daughters returned back to the Atlantic City region after spending seven years with Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, Nevada. His immediate influence in Atlantic City helped him garner his leadership role as President of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), which he has held since 2014. The CANJ provides a collective voice for the Atlantic City casino industry by facilitating the exchange of information and ideas between our industry, small businesses, Atlantic City stakeholders, New Jersey Regulators and the general public. Prior to returning to Atlantic City, Kevin held the position of Regional Assistant General Manager and CFO/Vice President of Finance for three Las Vegas properties – Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood – all part of the Caesars Entertainment family. In this capacity, he oversaw property operations, customer service, entertainment, finance and accounting.  In addition, he was a key contributor to the acquisition and integration of the Planet Hollywood Resort Casino into the Caesars Entertainment brands. He also served as the Executive Sponsor for the OWN IT! program and in 2011, Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood earned their highest-ever property scores.

woman smiling The 2018 Culinary Honoree is Georgeann Leaming of Brigantine, executive chef of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Kitchen located in Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino and 1999 Academy of Culinary Arts graduate. 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.

This year’s theme is “Culinary Magic,” showcasing the extraordinary talent and cooking expertise of the students and alumni of the Academy of Culinary Arts.

This year, the Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala will 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.

Tickets to the Gala are $225 a person and can be ordered by contacting Kristin Jackson at 609-463-3621 or or by visiting

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.

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.