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Nick Puletti grew up in the restaurant industry. In 1970, Puletti’s grandfather and grandmother started The Portofino Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, and the northern-style Italian restaurant remains in the family. His grandmother moved to the U.S. from Castilla-La Mancha when she was 16. To stay true to his roots and identity, Puletti grew up traveling to Spain often visiting family in Madrid and exploring the coast by train. Those culinary experiences in his early years in Spain stuck with him. What impressed him greatly is how meals are like big events since Spanish social culture revolves around eating and drinking, and its residents embrace a more laid-back lifestyle than other parts of Europe.
“You have Italy and France, which are kind of like your New York and LA,” Puletti says. “And they get all the attention because everyone loves that. But Spain is like the South—we might not get much credit for our food, but at the end of the day, it is the best food. It’s the stuff that’s going to make your heart feel good and boost your attitude.”
Puletti was the executive sous chef at Soji: Modern Asian, but the desire to share his Spanish roots with the city led him to open his own paella catering company before finding out about the opportunity at Solera. Most recently he and his wife became owners of the New Iberia Truck. He and his wife Allie Doré wrote on their website, «New Iberia is the brainchild of three generations of family who share a common goal: to feed good people, real good food. All of us have walked a different path but ended up in the same place. What we want to share is our love for food, culture, and family with everyone who wants to be a part of it.”