Chef and Butcher Amanda Luhowiak
Owner, Chef, & Butcher at The Whole Ox
Meet Chef and Butcher Amanda Luhowiak
Amanda’s deeply rooted heritage in Virginia’s Piedmont shapes her work as her work shapes the food system of the region.
The only daughter of an avid hunter, she grew up learning to process the animals that she and her father hunted. A true native of Marshall, Amanda’s family has lived in this place since at least 1769. Echoing her present, Amanda’s great-uncle once owned a butcher shop in Marshall.
Building on her storied ancestry, Amanda (with her husband Derek) opened a hyper-local food-truck called Local Six Forty Seven (an homage to the local route that lead to their home) that focused on grass-fed beef burgers and seasonal local foods. Much of the food they produced themselves, either by growing in their garden or hand-making their own condiments, while other ingredients were sourced as nearby as possible to support farmers in the region. By posting up at farmers markets and local wineries, their food-truck gathered a loyal following and then led to wider prominence when they were featured on Good Morning America.
Amanda continues to develop her skills and education in the field, as an alum of the James Beard Foundation WEL (Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership) Program, in completing WSET Level 2, and by participating in the Entrepreneurship at Cornell University program.
Founding of The Whole Ox
In 2011, Amanda and Derek traded the traveling food-truck for something more concrete, establishing The Whole Ox in Marshall, VA, not only as a butcher shop to preserve the intricate and artisan practice of whole animal butchery, but also to serve as a point of connection between the local community and the farms who produce their food. The Whole Ox has been recognized in numerous ways over the years including being selected as Virginia Living’s Best Butcher Shop and included in Northern Virginia Magazine’s Best Restaurants.
Today, The Whole Ox serves as a colloquial food leader, be that through the advocacy of pasture-raised meats, a market of local vegetables and goods, or a larder of wines, cheeses, stocks, and delicacies that enrich the stomachs and lives of the people of the area.