After graduating from college in 2014, Sean McPaul realized he missed the energy of working in restaurants as a teenager. So a few years later, he found himself earning yet another degree—this time from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York.
Both before and after leaving the CIA, McPaul has ascended the culinary ladder for the past 15 years by holding various roles in kitchens from Talula’s Garden and Stephen Starr’s Tangerine—both in his native Philadelphia—to Quince and Jardinière in San Francisco.
Today, McPaul is at the helm of High Street on Hudson, known throughout New York City for its innovative yet unpretentious and seasonally-driven American fare. “Cooking seasonally on a menu allows chefs to really get a better sense of the ingredients they are working with and observe them as they develop at the height of the season,” he says. “This helps motivate a chef’s creativity and inspires cooks to love the products they’re working with. However, if you aren’t watching closely as the season moves along, one day a focal ingredient could be gone for the year and you’re left scrambling for alternatives.”
The Clever Root asked the candid Chef McPaul what a guest can expect from their experience at High Street on Hudson. “I like for the guests to walk out feeling like they just got sucker-punched,” McPaul exclaims. “We have a nice cozy space with a little open kitchen, so the restaurant seems fairly unassuming. Then, food starts hitting the table and the flavors are bold, the techniques vary from dish to dish, and the food is fresh and vibrant. There’s lots of texture, and little hits of fresh acidity pop up to keep your palate refreshed and on its toes. When properly executed, the food should create this sort of feeling.”