Former Wild Catch exec chef Justin Brunson has a few words for Tony Clement bashers: Lay off!

While it's no secret that Justin Brunson, the former executive chef of Wild Catch, isn't a big fan of Daniel Kuhlman, his ex-partner (and owner) of the restaurant that Brunson walked away from a few weeks ago following a flurry of accusations, drama and aftermath, Brunson is very much a supporter, booster and believer in Tony Clement, a Mizuna alum whom Kuhlman hired on as a consulting chef at Wild Catch.

And Brunson has a few choice words for those of you who have posted comments bashing Clement: Shut the hell up.

"Seriously, tell those people to quit picking on Tony," pleads Brunson. "He's an awesome chef and easily one of the best chefs in the city." So good, in fact, that Brunson actually wanted to hire Clement as his chef de cuisine when he opened Wild Catch. "I interviewed him and really wanted to hire him, but he turned me down because he wanted his own kitchen, and I don't blame him."

Brunson insists that Clement has what it takes -- and more -- to make the kitchen at Wild Catch a wild success. "I'm sure that he can keep up the same quality of food as I did -- the guy can really, really cook -- and there's no reason for all the negativity. Shut up and give the guy a fair chance. It's the right thing to do."

And in case you're wondering what Brunson is up to since departing Wild Catch, he made a black truffle and pistachio pork sausage this morning that we really, really hope he'll have on the menu at his new restaurant, which he's currently contemplating. "Right now, I'm just hanging out with my boys at Masterpiece Deli, doing some catering and trying to make stuff happen with a new place," he says.

But back to Clement: "Leave him alone and let him cook," Brunson urges.

And frankly, I agree.

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