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STHM alumna Eliza Stasi leaves her mark at Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

By: Jamie Cann
First Published: August 5, 2014
Topics: In the News, STHM School

With her hands in the planning – and her toes in the sand – Eliza Stasi ensured that the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival would go off without a hitch.

A 2008 graduate of Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Stasi serves as the Regional Entertainment Manager of Caesars Entertainment. And in that role, Stasi planned and managed the 6th Annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, which took place July 25-27.

Stasi even drew acknowledgement from guest celebrity chef Martha Stewart.

This year’s festival featured a first, with all events being conducted outdoors. From the daytime grand market to the twilight cocktail parties, and everything in between, attendees experienced all of the festival’s sessions in the open air.

In recent years, the festival’s schedule of events was split between the beach and the ballroom. This year, attendees had a chance to kick off their shoes and dip their toes into the sand, if they so chose, while taking in the festival’s offerings.

“Corporate saw the success of last year’s outdoor Beach Soiree, and the value of utilizing our assets, the beaches and boardwalk.  Having center boardwalk properties steps away from our beaches made the transition outdoors the logical one.  We need to showcase our beaches and outdoor spaces in order to re-brand AC as a non-gaming destination and that’s what we did,” Stasi said. “The transition outdoors was so well received. Attendees responded very well to the change, the feedback was incredibly positive.”

Three celebrity chefs led demonstrations, creating three days of memorable moments for the 10,000 attendees and giving the festival a dash of marquee selling power. Martha Stewart hosted a session highlighting burgers, Robert Irvine specialized in barbecue, and Marcus Samuelsson brought a New England-style clambake to the Jersey shore.

Stewart posed with Stasi for a picture for her blog, “The Martha Blog,” wherein she credited Stasi for putting “a lot of work into organizing the events.”

“The celebrity chefs were great,” Stasi said. “We developed this year’s event roster around our boardwalk properties, at Caesars and Bally’s, kept everything outdoors, and it was such a huge hit. We couldn’t have been happier with how everything turned out.”

Stasi, who’s worked for Caesars Entertainment since 2011, oversees the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival’s itinerary, budgets, sponsorship activations, logistics, “and just about everything else you can think of,” she said with a laugh.

She also manages the box offices for each of Caesars Entertainment’s four Atlantic City properties, as well as Harrah’s Philadelphia, in Chester, Pa.

“Mainly,” Stasi said, “if there’s a lifestyle event that we put on, I have a hand in it.”

Those events include: Sweat AC, a fitness and nutrition expo that last year featured celebrity trainers Jillian Michaels, of The Biggest Loser, and Shaun T, who created the Insanity workout; and Hartbeat Weekend, a gathering of Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart’s celeb friends, with comedy shows, concerts and beach parties galore.

Stasi, a Cranbury, N.J., native, said she picked Temple University because “I stepped onto that campus and it just felt so right,” she said. “I just felt like I belonged.” The same could be said of Stasi’s position with Caesars Entertainment, and her organizational role with the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival.

“If anything, this year’s festival demonstrated that we can do these types of events completely outdoors and have a lot of success with them,” she said. “This thing is going to continue to grow, year to year, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”