Meat mama Leighann Smith learned to cook from her grandmother at age seven and scored her first job in a professional kitchen at age 15. Now, years later, she serves as one of the few female butchers in New Orleans. She's the lady with chops at repeat James Beard nom Donald Link's esteemed Cochon Butcher, the casual meat market attached to slightly more formal sibling Cochon.
Back in 2009, Bon Appetit praised Cochon Butcher for its hot dogs, meanwhile Food & Wine called out the shop for plating some of the best Southern food in the country. Cochon's 30 bar stools filled quickly, and last April Link decided it was time to triple the butcher's size and upgrade to 120 seats.
The force behind it all is 28 year-old Smith, the ballerina turned self-taught butcher. Check out the video above for more.
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