OWNER & EXECUTIVE CHEF
As the Owner and Executive Chef of Old Major, Justin brings close to two decades of culinary experience to his latest eatery. He focuses on heritage-raised meats, sustainable seafood and ingredients sourced from local farms. Born and raised to an Iowan farming family, Justin’s childhood was spent gardening, hunting and fishing. These activities along with his agricultural roots begin to describe his passion for food and its’ preparation.
Justin attended Scottsdale’s LeCordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and obtained an internship in 2001 with renowned Chef Michael DeMaria at Michael’s at the Citadel. Michael hired and extensively trained Justin for the next several years, which helped ignite his true passion for food and cooking. In 2004, Justin moved to Denver and helped open Zengo with Chef-owner Richard Sandoval. Two years later he joined award-winning Chef Frank Bonanno as his Sous Chef at Luca D’Italia and filled in at Mizuna when help was needed. Justin worked with Frank until 2007 before he joined forces with Alex Seidel, Owner and Executive Chef of Fruition. In 2008, Justin helped open Fruition all while he was in the process of opening up his own business, Masterpiece Delicatessen, which opened its second location in late 2013.
During the summer of 2012, Justin completed a 30-day internship in New York at Fleisher’s, a sustainable butcher shop under master butcher Josh Applestone where Justin furthered his knowledge and skills with sustainable meats and butchery. In 2013, Justin launched the Denver Bacon Company, a locally produced, dry-cured, peachwood smoked, thick cut and sweetened with maple sugar bacon. The bacon is proudly served and available for purchase at Masterpiece Deli and other specialty shops. It will soon be served at several restaurants throughout Colorado. Additionally, Justin is sponsored by the National Pork Board and will be representing them at Aspen Food & Wine in 2013.
Justin has received numerous culinary accolades including: 5280 magazine’s Best New Restaurant 2008, Specialty Chef of the Year 2009, 5280 magazine’s Top of the Town, Top Deli 2009, Westword’s Best of Award, Best Breakfast Sandwich 2011, Westword’s Best of Award, Best Cassoulet 2011, Westword’s Best of Award, Best Sandwich Shop 2012, 2013 “Exceptional Newcomer” Signature Dish Award by the Colorado Restaurant Association, Top 50 New Restaurants in the nation in 2013 by Bon Appétit, No. 10 on 5280 magazine’s 25 Best Restaurants 2013 list, Eater Denver’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year – Old Major, 2013 Best New Restaurants in America, Thrillist, 5280 magazine’s Best New Restaurants 2014, Westword’s Readers Choice Best Chef 2014, Best New Restaurant 2014, Best New Neighborhood Restaurant 2014 and Gayot’s 2014 Hot 25 Restaurants in the U.S.