This should tell you everything you need to know about the owner and proprietor of Belmont Butchery, Richmond’s original trendsetter for hand-cut meats, house-made sausages and top-quality ingredients to make a meal you won’t soon forget.
At first, Tanya considered a more traditional career path when she enrolled in the University of Virginia’s aerospace engineering program in the late 80s. But she quickly realized that food was far more interesting to her than rocket science.
While at UVA, she worked with local chefs at restaurants around Charlottesville. After her third year, she began cooking full-time and a year later moved abroad to apprentice in Bern, Switzerland, where she quickly found out that learning the language wasn’t her biggest problem.
Intrigued by the full breakdown butcher’s ‘shop’ within the restaurant where she now worked, Tanya spent all her spare time shadowing the German butchers (that spoke no English!). Fortunately, knives know no language.
“Working in Switzerland, with the language and cultural barriers, is one of the toughest things I’ve done.” Tanya describes this experience as a significant turning point in her culinary career.
Over the next 15 years, back in the US, Tanya honed her craft as a restaurant chef; setup shop as chef-owner of Capers Catering; ran a cooking school Virginia Gourmet; and freelanced as a food writer. Not knowing what lay ahead, in 2004, Tanya went on 'walkabout' for 6 months in Australia and 'interned' at butcher shop in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. But it was while working as a freelance food writer and chef that she had that lightbulb moment!
While watching the Food Network in 2006, Tanya heard Alton Brown suggest his viewers visit their local butcher. The problem was that Richmonders didn’t have one. Inspired — she decided she was going to be the city’s local butcher!
That same year, Belmont Butchery opened its doors in the heart of the Museum District, becoming the first of its kind in the city of Richmond in a generation.
In the decade since, Tanya and her shop have been featured nationally in Bon Appetit, Saveur and Food & Wine Magazine, where she was named a “Maverick Butcher” in 2008. She has also contributed recipes and culinary columns to several local and national publications over the past 10 years.
It’s not an overstatement to say that Tanya Cauthen is a pioneer in her field, heralding in a new generation of meat mongers with a chef’s perspective.
She talked about a “nose to tail” philosophy before anyone else knew what that meant. She’s a pre-foodie, pre-locavore, pre-Josh Ozersky admirer and proprietor of meats and top-shelf ingredients, valuing quality and accessibility over all else.
Tanya married Henry Reidy in 2010 and lives in Montpelier, Virginia along with a herd of boer goats, Hog Island sheep, guinea hens, chickens and geese on Reidy's Pond Farm.
Henry owned Strawberry Street Vineyard, the oldest wine shop in Richmond at the time. In 2012, Henry sold the wine shop and joined Tanya at Belmont Butchery. Henry is in charge of the wine… but also lends his expertise to head up our customer service team.
In 2017, Tanya appeared on The Food Network’s CHOPPED. Her episode focused on indoor grilling, and the chefs only had use of 2 grilling griddles, a pot of water and 1 open burner (no oven or fryer!). When asked, Tanya explains, “I did very, very, VERY well.” (Season 34, episode 9)
More recently, Tanya has turned her attentions once again to teaching. Not only does Belmont Butchery host the occasional breakdown class, and volunteer their time talking about the current state of the plate and doing demonstrations for local non-profits. Tanya has been teaching at the North Carolina Niche Meat Conference since 2010. She is slated to teach several classes at the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers annual conference in January 2020.