Cameron Mitchell Restaurants recently recognized several outstanding general managers, executive chefs, senior leaders and restaurants at their annual Leadership Conference. The awards recognize extraordinary talent across the company, exemplifying the ideals of the CMR associates-first culture.
This year’s conference was held in Las Vegas where the restaurant company recently opened its newest and most elaborate Ocean Prime to date. It also included a celebration marking CMR’s 30th anniversary.
“Throughout the last 30 years, we have been fortunate to cultivate a team of thousands of incredible, dedicated associates and I am especially proud of what these outstanding leaders have accomplished as they continue to build their careers at CMR,” said David Miller, president and COO. “This year’s Leadership Conference was particularly special as we recognized our extraordinary team members alongside such a notable anniversary. They are outstanding advocates of our associates-first culture and truly exemplify the genuine hospitality for which we are known. We are grateful for their commitment and leadership, helping our company be better tomorrow than it is today.”
The following awards were presented:
2023 Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ Specialty Awards
Restaurant of the Year: The Pearl in Dublin, Ohio, is this year’s recipient of the Restaurant of the Year award. The restaurant is led by General Manager Jill Armstrong and Executive Chef Kaitlin Sharbo. The Pearl is a well-polished culinary jewel that features seasonal seafood, unique shareables, handcrafted cocktails and more in a dining experience influenced by eclectic décor that is stylish and nostalgic.
General Manager of the Year: Jill Armstrong, of Marble Cliff, Ohio, is the 2023 General Manager of the Year. As the general manager of The Pearl Dublin, she has exemplified excellence in her leadership, caring for the team as well as continually producing strong sales. Armstrong joined the company in 2013 as a server and quickly worked her way up, holding leadership positions at The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek, Hudson 29 and The Guild House.
Executive Chef of the Year: Wayne Schumaker, of New Albany, Ohio, is the 2023 Executive Chef of the Year. He is the executive chef of The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek and has been with the company for over 12 years with over two decades of professional culinary experience. During his time with CMR, Schumaker has supported more than 10 restaurant openings.
Cameron Mitchell “Milkshake” Award: This year’s Cameron Mitchell “Milkshake” award was presented to Kim Ho, CMR’s director of accounting operations. Ho’s journey with CMR began 26 years ago as a dining room manager at Cameron’s of Bexley, but when she realized the restaurant hours didn’t work with her family life, she asked David Miller for a position at Home Office. She then worked as an office manager until the associate in charge of accounts payable left and she took over the role. The rest is history, and Ho has continued to move up the accounting team for the last 25 years. The milkshake has become a CMR icon, illustrating the company’s commitment to providing genuine hospitality. Ho is a dedicated leader who exemplifies the CMR culture in her role every day.
2023 Ocean Prime Awards
Restaurant of the Year: Ocean Prime Denver – Tech Center is this year’s recipient of the Restaurant of the Year award. The restaurant is led by General Manager John Witmer and Executive Chef Ryan Finnegan. Located in Greenwood Village/Denver Tech Center (DTC) in the Belleview Promenade Center, OP DTC is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge. From the main dining room to the lounge, four stunning private dining rooms and seasonal outdoor terrace, guests can enjoy the vibrant energy of DTC from any area of the restaurant.
General Manager of the Year: Michael Kopoian of Ocean Prime Orlando is this year’s recipient of Ocean Prime’s Executive Chef of the Year award. With more than 25 years in the restaurant and hospitality industries, he brings passion and strong leadership to his role as operating partner and general manager. Kopoian has been with the Ocean Prime team since October 2007.
Executive Chef of the Year: Eugenio Reyes, the executive chef of Ocean Prime Las Vegas, received the Executive Chef of the Year award for Ocean Prime. He began his career with CMR in 1996 as a dishwasher after moving to Ohio from Mexico City, and he dreamed of one day preparing meals for guests. He moved up the ranks to the salad station, kitchen supervisor, sous chef and executive sous chef at a variety of CMR concepts, which led him to be an integral part of associate development at Ocean Prime openings across the country. At previous Leadership Conferences, Reyes was awarded Sous Chef of the Year in 2010 and Executive Chef of the Year in 2014.