Clive DuVal is the son of a Virginia Senator with the same name, who is credited with saving the childhood home of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Young Clive, wanting to make a name for himself, moved to New York in the late 1960s to become an entrepreneur. He gave up those efforts in 1976, and signed up for a course at a Philadelphia Restaurant School. “It was the shortest course I could find, and it reinforced that I liked cooking and wanted a restaurant” he was quoted as saying. In 1977, he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee to work in a restaurant chain.
In 1979, Chef DuVal and his girlfriend, Tila Hidalgo, opened Tila’s in Houston, Texas featuring flavors of authentic cuisine of Mexico City that she introduced him to. In 1985, the Great Chefs television team showed up at Tila’s to tape Chef DuVal for their Great Chefs of the West series, for PBS nationally, where he appeared in episodes 7 and 10.
He later left both his girlfriend and Houston, to open Tila’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland, while Tila Hidalgo still runs Tila’s in Houston today, in 2016.