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.
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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.