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 bachelor's degree from UCLA and a master's 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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Catherine is a native of Southern California. Catherine's love of hospitality led her to Cornell where she graduated from the acclaimed School of Hotel Administration in 2010. Upon graduating, Catherine moved to Washington, DC where she worked with Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts. After several years with Four Seasons and Michael Mina, Catherine continued her employment with Michael Mina in San Francisco, Washington DC, and finally settling in Seattle at RN74. After over 4 years with Michael Mina, Catherine wanted to experience new cities and exciting new operators which led her to Minneapolis where she joined the James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen and his team at Spoon & Stable as General Manager. In 2017 California came calling and pulled her back as General Manager, opening SBE's newest Cleo restaurant at the Orlando Hotel.
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Caitlin always thought she wanted to cook. Growing up in Los Angeles, and being a part of a large Chinese family, she always was coordinating the get togethers, cooking, entertaining. She begun working in restaurants in the front of house 18 years ago and had attended culinary school, both in Los Angeles and Italy. She quickly realized she loved to eat more than cook. She continued her professional journey working in front of house in restaurants and hotels in Southern California and Vancouver. Her most recent career was the General Manager of Hospitality for Westfield Airports at LAX, overseeing 75 stores with an average of $270M sales annually. Efficiency is her passion and love for logistics and project management fuels her fire.
Born and raised in Singapore, Andrea studied politics and communications in Singapore Management University before deciding to follow her love for travel and hospitality by joining Hilton's Asia Pacific General Manager Development Program. In her rapid-fire postings across the region, she quickly grew to realize her degree had not been for naught --- hotels proved themselves to be fascinating studies of politics and communications. Learning the ropes in hospitality meccas as diverse as Singapore, Hong Kong, the Maldives, Tokyo, and now Los Angeles, has exposed Andrea to a spectrum of concepts and personalities, proving that the best part of hospitality is that one never stops learning and growing.
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Shawn is a professional chef from Los Angeles, California. Following an internship position at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s eponymous 3-star Michelin restaurant, Shawn worked under Chef David Myers at Michelin-Starred 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 School of Hotel Administration 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.