Paul Pruitt. Principal
Seeing a need for new restaurant modalities, Paul founded New School in 2012.
Paul is a veteran of elite restaurant operators, having worked in corporate operations with the likes of Chef Jose Andres' THINKfoodGROUP, Stephen Starr's STARR Restaurant Organization, and Chef Laurent Tourondel's BLT Restaurant empire - among others.
His experience has led him to open, operate, and own restaurants in markets such as Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Singapore, Waikiki, and Washington, DC. Paul's restaurants and bars experience exist as both free-standing operations as well as with premier hotel partners Hilton, MGM, Marriott, Mirage Hotel & Casino, Ritz-Carlton, Sydell Group, and W Hotels.
Upon graduation from the Cornell University Hotel School, Jeff was immersed in world-class hospitality on-board the Crystal Symphony cruise ship where he circumnavigated the globe and peaked his passion for food, beverage and hospitality. Returning to the US, Jeff honed his skills in restaurants and nightlife with industry leaders The Rio Casino Resort by Harrah’s and Tao Las Vegas. Manno then joined LA powerhouse SBE where he opened and operated elite restaurants and nightlife including celebrity haunts Hyde Lounge, S-Bar and Foxtail Restaurant & Lounge.
During his tenure, Manno’s venues were recognized in Angeleno, Vanity Fair, LA Times, Riviera, Pacific, Town & Country and received coveted awards including Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence”, “Top 100 Nightclubs” by Nightclub Magazine, and the “DiRoNA” Award.
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Duncan is a chef, writer, musician, and urban planner.
He honed his culinary chops in Washington DC – first as restaurant chef of the Cosmos Club, later during a five-year term as chef d’partie at the AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Hotel. In Los Angeles, Duncan held the positions of chef garde manger at Michael Mina XIV, and sous chef at Michelin-starred Patina. During his tenure overseeing the kitchen at Patina, the restaurant was nominated for a James Beard Award, it received a four-star review from the LA Times, and was named one of the 40 Best Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot.com.
After opening Mess Hall Restaurant in LA’s historic Brown Derby, Duncan took a break from kitchen life to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning at UCLA. He learned to navigate the intricacies of city planning, land use policy, zoning, and development through positions at the City of Los Angeles and SWA Urban Design.
A restless education that took Lucy as far afield as Cambridge, Massachusetts; Oxford, England; Compostella, Spain; the Atacama Desert in Chile; and La Blanca, Guatemala. After coming to rest in Los Angeles and earning a bachelors degree from UCLA, and a masters degree from CSUN, she decided to make a passion for food and drink into a profession.
Lucy opened Rivera Restaurant under Chef/Owner John Rivera Sedlar and Owner/Operator Bill Chait, working alongside the famed mixologist Julian Cox. Nearly six years at Rivera, steadily rising through the ranks, set Lucy on her professional path. After a brief stint in the trenches of Chef Josef Centano’s Baco Mercat lead, Lucy left for a senior management position for 10 Grand Hospitality running Food & Beverage at the LINE hotel in Los Angeles, working with acclaimed Chef Roy Choi. Following that, Lucy was General Manager for Redbird, a massive endeavor that included the restaurant in the old rectory of LA’s first cathedral, while later, helping to open the beloved Botanica in the Silverlake neighborhood of LA.
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Shawn is a professional chef from Los Angeles, California. Inspired by a passion for food since childhood, Shawn earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from California State Polytechnic University Pomona. Following an internship position at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s eponymous 3-star Michelin restaurant, Shawn worked under Chef David Myers at Sona, where he elevated his technical skills to a new level. Following Sona he navigated the kitchens of Tom Colicchio’s Craft, and later The Bazaar by José Andrés, both in Los Angeles.
After his time at The Bazaar, Shawn moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for 4 years, the country his family immigrated from. During these years Shawn traveled throughout Southeast Asia, gaining exposure to the cultures and cuisines of the region. This experience planted the seeds of inspiration that led to the development of his restaurant Simbal, a modern Vietnamese restaurant Shawn opened in 2015 in Downtown Los Angeles. During its acclaimed run, Simbal earned praise from Jonathan Gold, Eater, the LA Times, LA Weekly, CBS, Los Angeles Magazine, Zagat, Entertainment Voice, Observer, DT News and Munchies VICE.
Nikki graduated from Cornell University’s acclaimed Hotel Administration School in 2009. During that time she also worked with Starwood Hotels and the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, while also managing to spend time studying in Argentina. Upon graduating from Cornell, Nikki joined Hillstone Restaurant Group, well-considered to be the model for service efficiency and consistency in the hospitality industry. After spending the first 4 years in operations (ultimately as GM in multiple concepts), she eventually moved into their corporate office working 3 years in Human Resources, focused on recruitment, training and development.
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