Rising Star Butcher John Blevins of Clove & Hoof - Biography

Oakland, CA

May 2016

At 14, John Blevins was working (begrudgingly) in the dirt, on a farm in Georgia near where he grew up. It was his first foray into the food industry. Off the land and into the kitchen, by 18 Blevins was working in the kitchen of a pizzeria where he learned to appreciate very simple, very good food from an angry Italian man.

Years later, after high-intensity seasonal work and stages across the country pushed him from line cook to head chef, Blevins landed in California working under two 2013 Rising Stars. First with Sean Baker at fine-dining Gather, then with Ryan Farr at 4505 Meats in San Francisco, both formative experiences that left him yearning to learn more about butchery and charcuterie. Blevins took to Europe for inspiration. He found himself back on a farm—this time by choice—in France with wife and business partner Analiesa Gosnell. For months, Blevins learned to break down hogs with the acclaimed Chapolard family, then he toured Spain and Italy to learn more. Ultimately, he brought his knowledge back to Oakland, where he and Gosnell opened passion project Clove & Hoof.

Supplying and fulfilling a much-needed East Bay niche, Blevins focuses on responsible sourcing with the highest regard for animal husbandry. Clove & Hoof is not only a butcher shop; it’s also a restaurant with a supremely unpretentious menu—think chicken and waffles and cheese steaks—a nod to his humble, back-roads beginning in the food industry.