As a contributor to the Outdoor News "Taste of the Wild" cooking feature that publishes in Outdoor News editions from Minnesota to New York, Jesse Griffiths brings a unique flair to the platform.
Jesse Griffiths, executive chef and owner of Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club, is Texas born and bred. Denton, Texas to be exact. His love for the Lone Star state is clear when looking at Dai Due’s menu, which is composed solely of fresh produce, meats and other ingredients from Texas.
At age 16, Griffiths took on his first restaurant job as a busboy, then as a server, in local Denton restaurants. After a few years, Griffiths realized the front-of-house wasn’t for him, and he started paying more attention in the kitchen. He moved to Austin in 1998, and in 2000 attended a two-week cooking school outside Venice, Italy and then spent time inside the city for a cooking internship. It was here, and during several following trips to Europe, that he first saw, what he calls, “real food,” and became interested in the slow food movement.
Back in Austin, Griffiths cooked at a number of the city’s top restaurants, including Jean-Luc’s Bistro, Zoot and Vespaio, before starting Dai Due in 2006 with his now wife, Tamara Mayfield. Griffiths was inspired by his time in Europe where he saw a greater respect for ingredients and he set out to apply this to his home state of Texas. The name “Dai Due” is aptly fitting for Griffiths’ philosophy; it comes from an Italian proverb that states: “From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care.”
Griffiths and Mayfield initially began Dai Due as a supper club and farmers’ market stand with a mission to focus on ingredients that represent Central Texas. As the supper clubs became more popular, Griffiths became known for his appreciation of the land and his approach to hunting, which stresses a respect for the animal in its entirety and its environment. He shared his love of the hunt in 2012 with his James Beard Award-finalist cookbook, Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, which he worked on with Austin-based photographer Jody Horton.
Griffiths continues to share his hunting experience with others via in-depth, experiential hunting and butchery classes and weekend schools. Believing it is critical to teach those hunting animals how to care for the animals in both the field and in the kitchen is absolutely paramount to Griffiths.
In 2014, eight years after its inception, Griffiths and Mayfield opened Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club, the brick-and-mortar incarnation of his concept. As it has since the beginning, Dai Due continues to serve fresh, fairly-produced food from Texas farmers and ranchers and showcases Griffiths’ commitment to local products and sustainability.
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