Rising Star Butcher Teresa Cabansag of Gwen - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

May 2021

Cooking has always been a part of Teresa Cabansag’s life, but it took her a while to realize that it could (and would) be her career path. In a family of six, her parents were always enthusiastic about getting the kids together at the table through large dinners. Cabansag gained a deep interest in the science behind food and nutrition, so in her early 20s, she studied to become a registered dietitian. To pay for school, she picked up a job at a ramen joint in Los Angeles and found herself loving the challenge and tight-knit camaraderie of a small kitchen. 

She worked her way through various restaurants across the city and in 2015 started cooking at the James Beard Award-winning Otium under chef Tim Hollingsworth. The yearlong experience allowed Cabansag to realize her full potential—how skilled she could become and how far she could take her career. She was enthralled by any task that involved working with her hands: deboning fish, plating large-format dishes, shucking oysters, and, eventually, butchering. But when Cabansag asked a chef to teach her how to butcher a lamb, he said she’d have to learn on her own time. And so, with minimal butchery experience, Cabansag went on to work at Chef Curtis Stone’s upscale butcher shop and restaurant, Gwen. Four months later, she was learning how to cure meat and grind sausage. She took over the charcuterie program within a year. Now four years into her job, Cabansag manages six (male) employees as Gwen’s head butcher and charcutier.