"I was working as a sous-chef in a popular French-Vietnamese restaurant in New York City in 2010. About a year after we opened the Executive Chef stepped down and we were forced to reevaluate the concept and the direction that we wanted to take the restaurant. The menu played on all our culinary and cultural backgrounds as well as techniques that we had learned over the years in all our respected positions. The menu ran the gambit from Southeast Asian, Caribbean, South American, Middle Eastern to Western European and much more. It was also critical that we were sourcing our products responsibly, utilizing local farms, butchers and fisheries and paying close attention to what was at the height of seasonality. The new menu and concept came together organically and then we were faced with a dilemma. What category does our restaurant fall into now? How do we brand this style of cuisine with so many influences and factors?
The solution at the time was to call ourselves New American. All over the country people were pushing themselves in new directions and experimenting with new techniques and flavors. When I say we were doing something original and new I don’t mean we were revolutionizing the industry, or doing something unprecedented, I simply mean that the dishes we conceived and cooked were our own. They borrowed all sorts of influence and we owe credit to all the teachers and cooks and chefs that came before us, but they were our novel ideas." - Ryan Brazeal, Owner/Chef