By Mike Kinney
Since age 10, Katia Kuhnhausen has had a passion for cooking, in large part inspired by her late father, a Portuguese immigrant who immigrated to Brazil at a young age and who was her greatest food critic.
“He always told me the truth,” said Kuhnhausen.
That honest opinion has resulted in honest cooking, which in recent years has developed into her company, Boteco.
Now, the Richmond community gets to taste the authentic Brazilian creations by Kuhnhausen, who operates a pop-up Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Artisan Kitchen & Café at 865 Marina Bay Parkway in Richmond. Boteco also offers catering and delivery services.
Nine years ago, Kuhnhausen immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil, where she worked as an intensive care nurse. She did some nursing after moving to the U.S., but moved on to become a project manager of a software company. She launched Boteco in 2019, a project she’d wanted to start since her father passed away five years ago.
“Ever since, I wanted to do something that he would love to do himself — cooking, eating and sharing his feedback with anything around him,” she said.
Boteco (Botiquim in Protuguese) in Brazil refers to a low-key gathering place for bohemians featuring great food, drink and discussion.
“Everything from our menu is authentic Brazilian,” Kuhnhausen said, noting that her pies (Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie is her personal favorite) and Coxinhas are home runs among customers.
The Coxinha is “based on dough made with wheat flour and chicken broth and optionally mashed potato, which is filled with shredded spiced chicken meat, or a whole chicken thigh- and it has a texture of a Croquete,” Kuhnhausen said.
“I am from the northern area in Brazil and the way Coxinha is made there it’s a little different from other regions,” she added. “But no one complains when tasting different flavors, we just enjoy eating and gathering with family and friends.”
Kuhnhausen said her focus is on fresh, organic ingredients. She said she loves being able to share her creations in Richmond.
“Richmond is a very diverse city and also it has a huge Brazilian community,” she said.
She wants to remind them of home, while also sharing authentic flavors from their culture in the U.S.