As told by co-founder, Analiesa Gosnell.
Clove and Hoof is only two years old, yet you could argue that its origins began over 150 years ago. My roots in sustainable agriculture run deep – back to about 1840, when my ancestors homesteaded around Etna, in very Northern California, and started one of the largest cattle ranches in the area at the time. I grew up visiting the ranch every summer, learning to love the land, the people working it, and the cattle that lived off of it. Back in suburban Moraga I joined 4H, raised lambs in my backyard, and walked them around the streets of my residential neighborhood. And when I got into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I declared an agriculture business major. My connection to this lifestyle was intrinsic, yet I was still a city kid in the eyes of my peers – I wasn’t born and raised on a working farm. I had 4H experience but knew nothing of what it would take to truly run a farm or a ranch, or what the daily lived experience of that entailed. My interest in agriculture stemmed from a place of intuition, a feeling of connection and nostalgia that I got when I was on the ranch in Etna. Immediately I saw that my classmates and professors had an entirely different understanding of agriculture, one shaped by the “Wal-Mart method” of high yield, high efficiency, high profit – and complete disregard for the effects of industrial, chemical, and intensive methods on land, people, communities, and animals. It didn’t sit right with me. It didn’t look like my childhood visiting the ranch and raising lambs in my backyard. I knew that there was something flawed in this system – and that there had to be a better alternative. So I enrolled in some organic agriculture classes, surprisingly the only agriculture business student, and declared a concentration in hospitality management simply because I felt it could be useful and was genuinely interested in it. I didn’t have a plan, and my administrators were baffled by my path – or lack thereof. I was guided by intuition alone and as a result, floundered in the corporate world after graduation, struggling to put together all the disparate pieces of my life experience into something that made sense as a whole.
My first foray into the restaurant world came after a series of failed corporate jobs, with a group of new friends. We had this crazy idea to open a mobile cupcake stand in Tahoe for the summer, even though we had very little experience in either baking or restaurant management. We found an inn that was up for foreclosure, and decided to open a restaurant instead – a huge endeavor that we jumped into wholeheartedly. And that’s when John came into the picture. On his way to Alaska for a real cooking job in a real kitchen, for whatever reason he abandoned his plans to come be our chef for the summer. I ended up being his line cook, some of the most grueling work I’ve done. He taught me how to cook, he taught me how to work in a professional kitchen, and from then on we stayed together and stayed in the industry. John got a job at Gather and started doing whole animal butchering, while I worked at Prather meat company selling meat at the farmer’s market and talking to people about sustainability and humanely-raised. That was when it all kind of clicked and the seed for Clove and Hoof was planted.
We partnered with someone who was opening a restaurant back in San Luis Obispo and got the experience of opening and managing a restaurant. I did a butchery apprenticeship in upstate New York, working at cutting tables for 3 months learning all I could about whole-animal butchery. We got bought out in San Luis Obispo and made enough money back to go to France and work on a pig farm. It was there that everything really came together: the process of bringing up the animals on the land, breaking them down and finding a use for nearly every single bit of that animal; the communality of meals and the connection to people and land; the art of French charcuterie and respect for ingredients in cooking. This was what we wanted for Clove and Hoof: not just to be another sustainable butchery, organic restaurant, part of the foodie movement – but to bring people together over a shared love for ingredients that are of their own land, that connect them to their heritage. A year after we returned from France, our dream was realized, and Clove and Hoof opened its doors. Thank you for being a part of that – we hope to continue to serve you and connect you to the land and its people that make up such a big part of our identities. And above all, we hope you enjoy having us in the community.