JUSTIN BRUNSON

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.

KATIE O'SHEA PADRÓ

CO-OWNER AND BUSINESS MANAGER

A former financial analyst and current co-owner of Highland Tap & Burger and Old Major, Katie O’Shea Padró has a unique business and restaurant ownership perspective. A native of Arlington, VA, Katie received her MS in Business from the University of Vermont and spent years in the world of finance as well as teaching mathematics with a MLA in Mathematics for Secondary Education from Harvard University.  When Katie began to miss academia after moving to Denver in 2010, she decided to pursue education in wine and beer and currently holds a level two certification from the International Wine Guild and most recently earned her Certified Cicerone® designation.  At Old Major, Katie manages the financial and business undertakings as well as its community and social investments.

AUGUST POEHLS

General Manager

August Poehls was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  After spending time at UND, he decided to pursue a career as a professional saxophonist.  This passion for music and travel allowed August to see the world, which in turn cultivated a passion for fine food and wine.  After moving to Los Angeles, California in 2004, August landed a gig working in one of the most successful and highly acclaimed restaurants on the west coast, Gjelina on Abbot Kinney in Venice.  August was part of the opening service team at Gjelina, and after more than three years honing his craft, he parlayed his wine and service knowledge into a Sommelier certification with the International Sommelier Guild.  August and his wife Leigh moved back to Colorado in late 2011 to start a family, and just over one year later, their daughter Leyden was born.  Since their return to Colorado, August has worked as the wine director at Linger, served tables and worked as a sommelier at the reincarnation of The Squeaky Bean, and briefly worked at Lower 48 in the ballpark district before ultimately leaving to accept the job as wine director at Old Major.  In late May of 2014, August accepted the job as General Manager.  He still moonlights as a sax man.

Kona Bobek

Chef de Cuisine

Kona Bobek grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii but has been living in Denver since 2002. He randomly fell into the culinary world and got his chops working in restaurants like Fruition, Zengo, Il Posto, and Z-Cuisine.  He signed up to join Justin’s all-star line-up when Old Major began, focusing on traditional methods of cooking and butchery.  With Old Major since its inception as Sous Chef, he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in August of 2014 and continues to build and inspire a creative team of professionals.

Nadine Donovan

Pastry Chef

Nadine Donovan’s passion for pastry was instilled at a very young age. Born into a long line of pastry chefs and bread bakers, Nadine has been given the ability to work with sugar as second nature. After immigrating to Colorado from Ontario, Canada, Nadine chose to study Baking and Pastry Arts at Johnson & Wales University here in Denver. Shortly after graduation in 2008, she began her career working with Bob Blair  as the pastry chef at Fuel Cafe. In 2011, Nadine spent a year expanding her knowledge in the depths of culinary scene in Portland, Oregon.  She eagerly returned to the mile high to join Justin Brunson’s team at Old Major. As the head pastry chef, Nadine produces amazing breads and desserts that will change seasonally to compliment Justin’s dishes and the extensive bar program. She uses great ingredients and looks to get back to classics, like pies and cakes. To date, Nadine was awarded Westword’s Best Pastry Chef 2014 and is a current member of Denver FIVE™.

APRIL MARTZ

Assistant General Manager

April Martz joined the Old Major family in June 2013. Upon graduating from the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver, she helped open Tom’s Urban on Larimer Square, having also worked at Snooze A.M. Eatery, The Vineyard Wine Shop & Cellar in Cherry Creek, and The Little Nell in Aspen. She has her Level One Sommelier Certificate through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is constantly working with the Old Major wine team to prepare for the Level Two examination and beyond. In addition to managing the floor, April also helps Katie with back office and bookkeeping responsibilities, and coordinates Justin’s busy schedule.

BEN PARSONS

Strategic Partner from Infinite Monkey Theorem

Renowned Winemaker and founder of Denver’s Infinite Monkey Theorem, Ben Parsons, collaborated with Justin to create Old Major’s seafood, swine and wine concept. As a strategic partner, Ben brings over a decade of wine making experience to the restaurant and produces the exclusive Old Major red and white wines from Infinite Monkey Theorem. His knowledge of wines and spirits, relationships with members in the food and wine industry as well as his community associations make him a critical member of the Old Major team.