Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Pruitt.
Paul, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Miami Beach but moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (not far from New Orleans) just before middle school, where I remained through college (at the Univ of So Mississippi). It was during college that I (like most kids looking for extra spending money) worked in some of the top restaurants in town; first as a cook, then the dining room and finally as a manager. But it wasn’t until I dropped out of college and found my way to Atlanta, then Philadelphia did it finally crystallize that restaurants are what I wanted to do as a career. Even then, I couldn’t have imagined how rewarding and deeply gratifying this industry, which has taken me around the world, would ultimately prove to be.
Having worked in corporate operations with the likes of Chef Jose Andres’ THINKfoodGROUP, Stephen Starr’s STARR Restaurants, and Chef Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Restaurant empire (among others), I received a first-class education in the DNA of elite hospitality. My experience led me to open, operate, and own restaurants in markets such as Atlanta, Boston, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Singapore, Tokyo, Waikiki, and Washington, DC. My experience extends to free-standing operations as well as premier hotel engagements with Hilton, Marriott, MGM, Starwood, Ritz-Carlton, Las Vegas Sands (Marina Bay Sands) and the Sydell Group.
I am is also currently partners with Chef Roy at Best Friend in Las Vegas and Chef Vartan Abgaryan at Yours Truly Venice in Los Angeles.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My tumultuous childhood aside, my professional career certainly has not been the most linear of paths. I actually left the restaurant industry at age 30 with an early midlife crisis of sorts to focus on writing and music which were my passions long before restaurants. That sabbatical, as it turned out, was the break I needed to take a step back and realize that restaurants, and hospitality more importantly, weren’t a consolation prize for my other aspirations which hadn’t been realized, but were in fact (at a higher level) the perfect embodiment of something greater which drove me – the desire to create happiness, care and escapism for others.
New School Consulting – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are one of the few hospitality groups, of any ilk, that provides truly “whole-brained” services. Where many other focus on the creative, and others the financial/logistical, we embrace and deliver both. Furthermore, we’ve never been focused on directing or even sharing the spotlight with our clients, we enjoy being the directors and producers behind the camera.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me has always been any endeavor which challenges me creatively and intellectually, that bares fruit which helps my family and my colleagues. If I’m the only one winning and/or it came easy – that’s no victory.
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- Website: newschool.la
- Phone: (213)265-7770
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Lucianna McIntosh (the photo with the oven fire and the cocktail by the pool)