James Whetlor, the founder of Cabrito posted a very thoughtful story on Instagram yesterday (16th January 2020). He stated that ‘of all the great things about working with a business like Coombe Farm Organic - being 7 miles away is the greatest. #circulareconomy’.
This struck me as a really special point he was making. One I hadn’t taken the time to consider in the 2 months since we initially discussed selling James’ goat meat, under the Cabrito name, on the CFO website! So rather than just write a blog about Cabrito’s mission to put all billy goats born into the dairy industry into the meat industry - I want to launch this new category with a real bang. I want to encourage all of my customers to become James’ customers too!
Based in Devon, James used to be a chef. Having worked in London for ten years and at River Cottage he founded Cabrito Goat Meat after a chance meeting at Taunton farmers’ market introduced him to Will Atkinson at Hill Farm Dairy. “I ended up buying a couple of goats off Will to put on the restaurant menu at River Cottage” James says, “They flew out of the door. I thought, ‘We’re on to something here’, and went straight back to Will for more.”
James felt he could do something about the ridiculous waste of the male billy goats from the dairy industry, an ‘ethical car-crash’. He thought there had to be a better solution than gassing them as a by-product at a few hours old. Calling on his 10 years of chef experience and contacts in London, James set up Cabrito Goat Meat and began working with goat dairies to supply restaurants. James’ first restaurant customer was to Quo Vadis in March 2012. Through word-of-mouth and a relentless passion to sell the virtues of goat meat, he now serves over 70 well-known establishments including Mark Hix, Temper & St John.
Kid goats are a similar size to a spring lamb - around 20kg - and have a delicate, sweet and musky flavour. It is lower in fat than beef or pork, is rich in potassium and has twice as much iron as beef. One of the things that make Kid goat so appealing is its global nature. The meat takes well to punchy flavourings including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern herbs, spices and rubs. So many cultures have goat as a mainstay of their diet the recipe choices are almost endless. It can be smoked in Nigeria, pulled in Deep South US BBQ dishes, or cooked on a tandoor. Kid goat occupies a nice middle ground. It is a strong enough flavour to stand up to the spice and heat but subtle enough to respond brilliantly to herby, garlicky, lemony and winey based dishes.
It is his passion for change and the fact that Goat tastes so incredible that led to Cabrito Goat Meat winning a plethora of awards including; an Observer Food Monthly Award (2014) for Best Ethical Producer, Good Housekeeping’s Champion Meat Producer (2016) and Young British Foodies Meat Award (2016).
James has appeared on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch and was on Channel 4’s Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux Jnr. He is also the International Director of Goatober, month-long celebration of goat meat, Goatober, to the UK. Originating in New York in 2012 he has been instrumental in turning Goatober into an international campaign bringing together dairies, farmers, NGOs and individuals who are passionate about ending food waste in the goat dairy system.
GOAT: Cooking and Eating, James’ first cookbook, was published in April 2018 by Quadrille. It has been widely acclaimed as genre-defining and won the James Beard Foundation Award for best single-subject book and the Guild of Food Writers award for best single subject.
So there you have it! My friend James has a small, thriving, local business that is solving a huge issue in the world of food production. Goat Dairy products are among the fastest-growing in the category and if you enjoy any of them, you really should think about how you close the circle. I would implore you to try goat meat based on this concept. However, I think you’ll all be delighted when you taste this incredibly versatile and delicious meat!
You can shop our range of Cabrito Goat Meat here.