Chef Shuffles: Fruition and Old Major Get New Top Toques

Chefs Sarah Khosravani and Jon Lavelle are heading the kitchens at Old Major and Fruition, respectively.
Chefs Sarah Khosravani and Jon Lavelle are heading the kitchens at Old Major and Fruition, respectively.
Photos courtesy Old Major and Fruition
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

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

Two of Denver's best restaurants are shaking things up at the top of the batting order. Alex Seidel's Fruition and Justin Brunson's Old Major both have new chefs, making them prime destinations to sample something new from these longtime favorites.

Fruition, at 1313 East Sixth Avenue, has been on the hunt for a new head of the kitchen since Franco Ruiz left this past spring to lead the newly opened Woodie Fisher downtown. Seidel, who launched Fruition in 2007, just named Jon Lavelle as chef de cuisine, only the third in the restaurant's twelve-and-a-half-year history. Lavelle, a Florida native, graduated from Denver's Johnson & Wales University while learning the farm-to-table restaurant business at Duo and Olivea. After a move to New York City, he became chef de cuisine at Maialino, restaurateur Danny Meyer's Italian eatery that focused on whole-animal butchery and local produce. Most recently, Lavelle was executive chef at the Way Back before joining Esoterra Culinary Garden to increase his knowledge of Colorado farming.

Lavelle mentions this time of year in the Colorado growing season as "insanely jubilant" and recently rolled out a late-summer menu, the 112th menu update for Fruition. Look forward to Colorado corn, peaches, tomatoes, eggplant, squash blossoms and other of-the-moment ingredients.

At Old Major (3316 Tejon Street), Justin Brunson has been the executive chef since he opened his restaurant in 2013, appointing a chef de cuisine to oversee the daily aspects of running the kitchen. But this summer, he's decided to turn his attention to his new River Bear American Meats company, so he's turning over the executive-chef title to Sarah Khosravani, who started as a line cook at the restaurant two and a half years ago. At 29 years old, Khosravani becomes the first female executive chef in the Brunson & Co. restaurant group, which also includes Masterpiece Delicatessen, Royal Rooster and Culture Meat & Cheese.

Khosravani has already written two menus for Old Major, but her first as executive chef will roll out on October 2 and promises Persian and Mexican influences. The chef says she'll continue to receive mentoring and inspiration from Brunson, and she'll be backed up by new chef de cuisine Justin Van Deest, who has been with the Old Major team for two years.

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.