Casual Dining Leader Appoints New Chef to Cook up Transformative Culinary Vision
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar today announced the appointment of Cammie Spillyards-Schaefer as executive chef and vice president, culinary and menu strategy. With more than two decades of culinary experience, Spillyards-Schaefer joins a talented team in a dedicated effort to improve the Applebee’s dining experience across America, making great food more accessible. She will lead the charge in revolutionizing the brand’s culinary vision with a focus on real, honest cooking that is deliciously simple and vibrantly American.
“This is a pivotal moment for the Applebee’s brand as we look to make important enhancements, and Cammie is essential to driving menu innovation,” said Darin Dugan, senior vice president, marketing and culinary, Applebee’s. “With her creativity and deep understanding of consumer palates, she will ensure we are delivering incredible food prepared with care to our current guests and creating a reason for new guests to give us a try.”
This year marks a key transition for Applebee’s, with major kitchen and menu changes at the center of it all. In partnership with her team of chefs – who possess a combined 120 years of culinary experience – Spillyards-Schaefer is committed to enhancing kitchen operations and streamlining the current menu by developing modern American cuisine that incorporates even more fresh, real ingredients. While impressed by the amount of cooking already taking place in Applebee’s kitchens, Spillyards-Schaefer will develop a culinary strategy that enables thousands of Applebee’s cooks across the nation to better serve each guest.
“Joining the Applebee’s family is a tremendous opportunity,” states Spillyards-Schaefer. “One of the most amazing things about this brand is the ability to cook for and serve millions of people – we are feeding America! We not only have an opportunity to change the way guests feel about dining at Applebee’s, but we also have the opportunity to influence the palate of the entire country. Knowing our work can impact so many people on that level is a huge motivation for me to ensure we’re delivering the best food we can, from our culinary center to every Applebee’s kitchen around the world.”
Spillyards-Schaefer has extensive experience in culinary innovation, beginning with her first apprenticeship assisting Chef Michael Bernard Platz of L’Entrecote. After graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America, she served as a private chef, owned two restaurants and oversaw menu innovation as director of product development for Chili’s Grill and Bar. Most recently, she served as vice president of research & development and innovation for Bloomin’ Brands International, which includes Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.