Everything we do at Clove & Hoof is done with a purpose and a reason. To honor the animal we have to use the whole thing; for example, I have 700 pounds of beef fat that I have to use every month. That translates to the kitchen: we make our tallow candles, we make beef tallow fries, we really have to use everything. It’s a romantic idea, but it’s actually terrifying for a business like ours.. A lot of restaurant folks don’t get a chance to work with product like this in their kitchen positions.. Breaking down whole animals, getting creative with how to use everything, and getting to work with rare cuts and really high quality meat is something I take a lot of stock in and teach the rest of our staff.
I grew up mainly in Northeast Georgia, and my first job in a kitchen was working for an Italian guy who taught me a lot of great basics. I went to school for computer animation, but I cooked my way through it, and ended up hopping around working different kitchen jobs after I graduated. I did some seasonal work in Alaska for a couple of years, cooked in Vegas for a while, and then ended up in California where I met Analiesa. She and I opened our first restaurant together in Tahoe, California then another in San Luis Obispo, which were great experiences, but we both wanted to do something a bit more involved in our respective worlds.. Analiesa was always interested in animal husbandry, and I was interested in charcuterie and dry-cured meats, which take a lot of knowledge, time, and special skills Analiesa and I went to Europe and learned how to do this properly. When we came back I worked with Thomas McEntee at 4505 meats, and now he’s working with us at Clove & Hoof.
I’m the executive chef here, but my role isn’t limited to that job description. Sometimes I work the front of house, I can be the butcher, I can jump on the line – I like to know what’s going on in every part of the operation so I can understand my staff and customers and so my job doesn’t get too monotonous. I don’t like to confine myself to one role, and I also don’t want to confine Clove & Hoof to one dish. Our cheeseburger is so great because each component is thoughtfully developed and created in house, from the pimento cheese spread to the pickles, and all the ingredients are really high quality. Our sustainable meat philosophy extends to produce as well, and I actually have a lot of experience cooking vegetables. I spent time learning from Sean Baker at Gather in Oakland. Our goal is to take the classics like a Philly cheesesteak or an Oyster po-boy, and do justice to the nostalgia of what those dishes are, but also to do something creative and cool with them.. This kind of thought and creativity is what keeps me going and motivates me daily. It’s why our menu changes a lot, and why you can expect it to keep changing – because we want to keep things fresh and interesting.
My goal is to keep pushing the boundaries, to keep learning and trying new things. In the end the point of it all is simple: make really, really good food that’s fun to cook, and great to eat. That’s why we’re here.