Justin Brunson amasses a team of high-profile chefs to run the kitchen at Wild Catch (and starts his own bacon company)

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When Justin Brunson, the captain behind the magnificent Masterpiece Deli, opens Wild Catch, a sustainable seafood restaurant in Uptown, he'll steer his kitchen along with a tag team of several other high-profile chefs -- none of whom, by the way, are from TAG, Troy Guard's Asian restaurant in Larimer Square that recently experienced a mutiny on the bounty when more than a dozen staffers strolled out the door.

Instead, Brunson has netted five other super-talented big-name chefs to man the ship, including Lance Barto, who commanded the kitchen at Strings for three years; Johnny Fermento (Fruition and Food Guy Catering); Josh Kauffman (former sous chef at Steuben's); Galen Kennemer, who's worked alongside Brunson at the deli for several years (and also did time in the kitchens of Fruition and the long-gone Emma's); and Jared Brant, the opening chef of Satchel's on 6th, who abruptly gave his notice there just under two weeks ago.

"Yeah, that's my staff, and I'm really stoked about it," says Brunson, who's got a full month ahead of time before Wild Catch, Colorado's first Marine Stewardship Council-certified restaurant, opens on August 24. "First I'm getting married, and I'm even catering my own wedding, plus I'm doing my own brand of bacon now, and then I've got a restaurant to open, which will be as sustainable as it can possibly be," he adds, noting that Wild Catch will be periodically audited by the Council to ensure that the fish and seafood it's selling conforms to sustainability requirements.

And about that bacon...Brunson, who's now the proud proprietor behind his own bacon label -- Denver Bacon Company -- is using heritage-breed Hampshire pigs from Iowa to create both a maple, dry-cured bacon and a rosemary bacon. "They're awesome," he insists, and both bacons will be available at Masterpiece Deli, Marczyk Fine Foods and the Truffle. "There's a lot more to come," he reveals, "but first I've go to get married and open a restaurant."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.