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Conference Recognizes Individuals, Restaurants for Exemplary Leadership Contributions

COLUMBUS, Ohio (September 23, 2019) – Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) recently recognized several managers, chefs, associates and restaurants for their outstanding performance in 2019. The awards were presented at the company’s annual Leadership Conference, which was held earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois.

“As we celebrate 26 years in business, we are proud to recognize the extraordinary talent and commitment of our team members,” said David Miller, CMR president and chief operating officer. “Our team prides itself on delivering genuine hospitality to our guests and the leaders being honored often go above and beyond to create a culture at CMR that is fun, emphasizes quality and rewards our associates for their hard work. It is nice to have the opportunity to express our recognition and gratitude for their dedication.”

Awards were presented to the associates who work at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants specialty concepts as well as the Ocean Prime brand.

2019 Cameron Mitchell Restaurants Specialty Awards

Restaurant of the Year: Hudson 29 in New Albany, Ohio is this year’s recipient of the Restaurant of the Year award. The restaurant is led by General Manager Natalie Muehlfeld and Executive Chef Wayne Schumaker. Hudson 29 redefines American cuisine through simple preparation that allows expertly sourced ingredients to shine. Its welcoming atmosphere makes it the perfect gathering place for family and friends to share life deliciously.

General Manager of the Year: Kristen Luff of Powell, Ohio, is the 2019 General Manager of the Year. She is the general manager of The Avenue Steak Tavern in Dublin, Ohio. Luff began her career in guest services after joining the CMR family in 1999 and has gained experience in a variety of positions throughout the years. Because of her extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry, she leads through example and takes great pride in her daily work.

Executive Chef of the Year: Todd Kessler of Hilliard, Ohio, is the executive chef at Cap City Fine Diner & Bar in Dublin, Ohio. Kessler has been named CMR’s Executive Chef of the Year. He joined the CMR family in 2012 where he started as a sous chef at Cap City. His experience working in every position within the kitchen led him to his current role. Kessler has proven to be an integral leader at multiple Cap City locations.

Cameron Mitchell Award: This year’s Cameron Mitchell Award was presented to Mark Weiss, Ocean Prime’s senior director of operations. Weiss has been an esteemed member of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants family for nearly two decades. He knows the hospitality industry inside and out, beginning his CMR career as an hourly associate and working his way up through various positions within the company. Weiss served as general manager at four different concepts before being promoted to director of operations at Ocean Prime and was most recently promoted to senior director of operations for Ocean Prime.

2019 Ocean Prime Awards

Restaurant of the Year: Ocean Prime Naples is this year’s recipient of the Restaurant of the Year award. The Naples location, led by General Manager Rick Giannasi and Executive Chef Vladimir Trivunovic, brings award-winning culinary experiences to guests in the heart of Old Naples’ celebrated entertainment, dining and shopping district. Stunning settings, a vibrant energy, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list and truly genuine hospitality make Ocean Prime Naples an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge.

General Manager of the Year: Kal Harris, of Tampa, Florida, received the General Manager of the Year award for Ocean Prime. With more than a decade of experience in high-end restaurants, his appreciation for genuine hospitality and mission to enhance the guests’ experience make his work as general manager of Ocean Prime Tampa greatly appreciated by fellow team members.

Executive Chef of the Year: Adam Polisei is this year’s recipient of Ocean Prime’s Executive Chef of the Year award. Polisei started with Ocean Prime as a sous chef in 2006 at the Tampa location before taking on the executive chef position at Ocean Prime Troy. He has since returned to Ocean Prime Tampa as executive chef and has proven to be an integral part of the Ocean Prime brand.

**To view photos of all 2019 awardees, please visit

About Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) is an independent, privately-held restaurant group known for developing compelling dining concepts, offering outstanding cuisine complemented by genuine hospitality. Cameron Mitchell founded the company in 1993 on the powerful guest philosophy, “The answer is yes. What is the question?” Today, that commitment to delivering extraordinary guest experiences fuels 37 award-winning restaurants under 16 different concepts, including the nationally-acclaimed Ocean Prime brand, now coast-to-coast in Beverly Hills, Calif., Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Naples, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C; the Cameron Mitchell Premier Events catering company; and Buckeye Hospitality Construction, responsible for developing and managing the company’s new construction, remodels and special projects. CMR also oversees the growth and development of its sister company, Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, with 23 locations in six states. CMR celebrated 25 years of restaurant excellence in October 2018.

 With a penchant for building tomorrow’s hospitality workforce, Mitchell is the largest alumni donor to the Culinary Institute of America and, as a Columbus State Community College Foundation board member, is a leading contributor to the expansion of the school’s top-rated hospitality management and culinary arts program.

Mitchell shares the key to his company’s more than 25 years of success and the lessons he has learned in his tell-all book, “Yes is the Answer. What is the Question?”, now available for purchase at

For more information, visit and follow CMR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@CMRColumbus), and on LinkedIn.


Media Contacts:

Katie Lundy, 614.353.6476,

Tracey Smith, 614.621.3663,

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