Executive Chef Justin Brunson’s passion for quality ingredients and artfully designed cuisine stems from his agricultural roots earning him recognition as one of Denver’s most impressive and innovative chefs. Growing up in an Iowan farming family, Brunson learned the importance of carefully sourced ingredients and has taken his knowledge of the farming and agriculture industries into each of his concepts. Brunson’s family of restaurants that together make up Brunson & Co., highlight the best of heritage-raised meats, sustainable seafood and ingredients sourced from farms around Colorado.
Brunson began his culinary journey two decades ago at Scottsdale’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and soon after, earned an internship with renowned Chef Michael DiMaria at Michael’s at the Citadel, where he gained extensive training. Following that experience, Brunson moved to Denver where he worked with some of the city’s best including Chef Richard Sandoval (Zengo), award-winning Chef Frank Bonanno at Luca D’Italia and with the team at Denver’s top restaurant, Fruition.
In 2008, Brunson opened Masterpiece Deli and in 2011 he launched the Denver Bacon Company, which led Chef to further his knowledge of sustainable butchery via a 30-day internship in New York’s Fleisher’s, under master butcher Josh Applestone. Inspired and ready for something new, Brunson concepted Old Major which opened in 2013 to critical acclaim. Focusing on heritage-raised meats from Colorado farms, the restaurant featuring contemporary farmhouse cuisine continues as a Denver dining gem today.
Brunson & Co., has continued to grow in recent years, adding Royal Rooster, a lunch pop-up inside Old Major that specializes in fried chicken thigh sandwiches and Culture Meat and Cheese, which brings a carefully curated selection of cultured goods and accoutrement along with meat and cheese boards and handcrafted sandwiches inside The Denver Central Market (soon to open a second location inside Denver International Airport). In fall of 2018 Brunson will be opening a wholesale USDA certified meat production facility named Red Bear American Meats- a dream of Brunson’s 8 years in the making.