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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 & CasinoRitz-Carlton, Sydell Group, and W Hotels

Paul is also currently partners with Chef Roy at Best Friend in Las Vegas and Chef Vartan Abgaryan at Yours Truly in Venice.

connect > paul@newschool.la

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Jeff Manno.

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.  

connect > jeff@newschool.la

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Duncan Smith.

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.

connect > duncan@newschool.la

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LUCY STEWART.

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. 

connect > lucy@newschool.la

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ADJUNCT TEAM

ED VICEDO

Ed took a modular approach to his hospitality career. He has been an event planner, management professor, F&B exec, and a life coach. Learning the theory meant mastering mise-en-place at the California Culinary Academy, immersing himself in spreadsheets and marketing at UC Riverside, and then developing strategic plans to receive his Masters degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management from Golden Gate University.

Walking the talk entailed the most valuable adventures of managing operations, educating college students, and developing teams.He found his most enriching restaurant experiences to include leading operations within Chefs Charles Phan’s Slanted Door Group when it’s flagship restaurant won the James Beard Foundation’s “Most Outstanding Restaurant” award and within Paul Pruitt’s and Roy Choi’s restaurant group, 10 Grand Hospitality, when it changed the Los Angeles restaurant landscape by bringing Commissary and POT to Koreatown.Ed’s overall hospitality leadership service additionally comprises of stints with Mandarin Oriental, Hilton, and Compass Group.

HANK GEER

Hank leads all social media needs for New School’s clients. After graduating with a MBA in Marketing, Hank went on to lead marketing and social media teams with acclaimed start-ups and fashion brands: Article Menswear, The Black Tux, and Velvet by graham and spencer. Aside from Monthly pop-up Dinner Parties, Friends of Friends, Hank spent two years cooking at beloved restaurants Margot and Hayden in Culver City. Hank and Paul just recently launched SUPERHUNGRY digital media focused on hospitality-minded digital planning for restaurants, bars and hotels.

connect > hank@superhungry.la

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