The OCRA's objective is to promote and illuminate the Orange County restaurant industry. Pam Waitt is best known for launching “Orange County Restaurant Week” in 2008 which is the region’s most celebrated dining event and brings the county together through food. She is known for her visionary spirit and leadership abilities along with a commitment to developing Orange County as a world class dining destination. The association is also the company behind the wonderful Golden Foodie Awards, and many other successful events. Pam believes in showcasing Orange County's dining scene as a whole, and enjoys creating innovative, fun events that appeal to all palates. She is also passionate about ending childhood hunger and is on the board of nonprofit S.O.S. In her spare time she likes to, oh wait she doesn't have spare time.
Gina Mims - Owner Inspiro Brands, Inc.
Inspiro is a Brand Strategy and Graphic Design Firm Specializing in the Restaurant, Hospitality, Food & Lifestyle Industries. Before beginning Inspiro Brands in 2007 she was Vice President at On The Edge Design located in Newport Beach, CA. With both firms focusing on restaurant branding and identity she has collectively helped develop brands for over 100 dining destinations. Gina is also the Vice President and co-creator of the OC Restaurant Association. Her role is to develop the brand and design marketing materials for countywide “foodie” events. These include Orange County Restaurant Week, Happy Hour Week and The Golden Foodie Awards. She is the Communications Chair for Les Dames d’Escoffier LA/OC, has taught the graphic design portfolio class at Chapman University and is on the Advisory Board for AIGA (the professional association of design). In her free time she enjoys painting, yoga, reading, traveling and dining out.
Mona Shah-Anderson, owner of Moxxe PR, stands out in the OC business world because in 2004, when her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she made the decision to leave her position as Media Relations Director at a successful OC-based PR firm to spend time with him. The decision was simple for her - family first. Over the next year, she started freelancing for multiple clients and, before she knew it, she had started her own boutique PR firm, which she ran from her father's bedside. After he passed away, she made the decision to build the PR firm and to carry on her father's legacy. He was a successful orthopedic surgeon, who possessed an MBA, and was always striving to continue growing. Her goal was to make Moxxe successful - not into the biggest agency in Orange County, but the BEST. Although she services a wide variety of clientele, she has found her niche as an OC restaurant publicist and has created a reputable name for her company, Moxxe PR. In addition to working with the Orange County Restaurant Association and FoodPower, she works with some of the area's top restaurants, including The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, LUCCA, SOL Cocina, Haven Gastropub, Prego Ristorante, Bruxie, and taco asylum.
Tricia A. Cook
As co-producer of the Golden Foodie Awards, Tricia was an integral part of the successful launch of the inaugural event in October 2012. Prior to joining the OC Restaurant Association team in 2010, Tricia was director of marketing and PR for Orange County’s largest culinary school, The Art Institute of California – Orange County. During her tenure, she led the California Initiative Marketing Group; worked with more than 30 charity events; created and executed numerous award-winning food, fashion, music and art events, including the highly lauded Rock the Runway; and oversaw the development of innovative online initiatives, such as shapethehive.com. A veteran marketing and advertising professional, Tricia has also worked with national brands, including Del Taco and La Victoria Salsas, and DGWB Advertising.
Phyllis Ann Marshall
Phyllis Ann Marshall, President of FoodPower, Inc. is often referred to as the “secret ingredient” by many of her clients and by others the Queen of MakeOvers. Marshall has more than 35 years of experience as a restaurant owner and food service
consultant specializing in developing growth strategies for independent restaurants and small privately owned chains. Marshall has worked with restaurants ranging from fast-food to five star, helping to develop new concepts as well as to
refine and retrofit existing operations. As a result of her experience in this field, she has been called upon as an advisor to shopping center and city developers, department store restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, grocery stores, premium-brand
product makers and independent and small chain restaurants of every size and shape. FoodService operations grow and flourish under Marshall’s guidance.
Armen Karamardian – Zov’s Café and Zov’s Bistro
Armen Karamardian serves as director of operations of his family's venerable and successful Orange County, Calif. restaurants. Anchored by the critically acclaimed Zov's Bistro in Tustin, the family's burgeoning business also includes a nationally renowned bakery, popular marketplace, 2 Zov's Bakery & Cafes in Newport Beach and Irvine and 2 Zov's Grab & Go's at Orange County's John Wayne Airport. In his role as operations director, Armen works closely with Zov to develop the concepts, researches and selects sites for each concept, works with management and other staff on various human resources issues and engages in other day-to-day duties to ensure that Zov's continues to live up to its sterling reputation.
Cathy Pavlos – LUCCA
Chef Cathy Pavlos is the driving force behind one of Orange County’s most unique and dynamic eateries, LUCCA. The Irvine-based restaurant is known for its one-of-a-kind menu, reminiscent of a Euro bistro, complete with an exquisite wine bar, wide selection of cheese and charcuterie offerings and seasonal tasting menus. Chef Cathy grew up in a typical close-knit large Italian family and most of her childhood memories of family have to do with cooking with her grandmother for Sunday family gatherings. Though educated as an architect and an art historian, and despite more than 20 years in architectural practice and as a college professor, Chef Cathy has always been drawn back to cooking. Having traveled to Italy every year for the past 30 years, she has been developing a collection of remarkable recipes, inspired by her grandmother’s cooking and her favorite restaurants in Italy, France and Greece. These recipes, seen on LUCCA’s menu, have been slightly modified to build in the flavors of California with its emphasis on the use of healthy and high quality ingredients, such as certified Angus beef, free-range turkey, hormone-free chicken, wild salmon and locally grown organic produce.
James Ulcickas – Bluewater Grills
Jim “Jimmy U” Ulcickas founded Bluewater Grill in 1996, with partner Richard Staunton of Sydney Australia with the simple goal of serving great seafood, in a casual atmosphere, at moderate prices by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Born in Massachusetts, and raised in Connecticut, Jim graduated from Dartmouth College in 1983. In 1989, Jim joined American Restaurant Group, Inc., in Newport Beach, as controller of Spoons, a $35 million division encompassing 20 restaurants.