Richmond cooking will never be the same, and Tanya Cauthen can be held partly responsible. Her artisanal butcher shop in the city's Museum District has become a culinary clearinghouse for chefs, gourmands and novices who can't tell a rillette from confit. They find in Cauthen a trained chef with serious chops — someone as delighted to share recipes and expertise as she is to custom-cut house-cured guanicale or prime-grade beef.
Cauthen is evangelical about food and describes her work as joyful, especially when that means sawing through cow bones or harvesting the squishier parts of a pig. Most of the shop's meat is free of hormones and antibiotics, and much comes from local farmers — contributing to a growing locavore movement that Cauthen has promoted for years while working at Ellwood Thompson's, the Edible Garden and other natural-foods trailblazers here.
She's also active in many food-related benefit events, donating time and merchandise with the same zeal she offers to customers who want to learn more about what they're buying and eating.
Lately she's been pulling a national spotlight toward Richmond's food scene with features about her work in Saveur and Food & Wine magazines. “My career has been punctuated by bringing something to Richmond that didn't exist here before,” she says.