The Carnivore team, shown here on its opening night on 5 February, includes, from left, executive chef and partner, Dylan Benoit; partner Alberto Beraha; partner Mike Stroh; partner Kris Bergstrom; and operations manager and partner Eric Schwandt. Photo: Alan Markoff
By Alan Markoff
All that is missing in Camana Bay from the roster of the old nursery rhyme is the candlestick maker, now that the butcher has joined the baker, Petit Paris, on Market Street.
Carnivore Premium Meats, which opened last month, features more than just a butcher shop though, says executive chef and partner Dylan Benoit.
“It’s definitely a butcher shop, but then some,” he says, noting that Carnivore also sells sandwiches, pre-cooked meats, seasonings and even edible candles.
As its name suggests, Carnivore’s main offerings revolve around meat. Its selection includes lamb, pork, local free-range organic chicken, bison, venison, elk and of course, beef. Much of its beef is grass-fed Angus beef from the United States-based Joyce Farms, a company that not only never uses pesticides, animal by-products, hormones, growth stimulators or antibiotics, but that also practises regenerative agriculture methods.
“Grass-fed beef tends to be much more lean than traditional beef and the fat can have a slightly yellow colour,” says Benoit. “Our Joyce Farms beef is exceptionally well marbled and has a great flavour that isn’t as strong and ‘earthy’ as most other grass-fed beef on the market.”
In addition to bringing in American Waygu beef, Carnivore is also bringing in authentic Japanese Waygu beef.
“Eating Japanese Waygu is a completely different experience,” says Benoit. “It’s rich and buttery, but doesn’t taste greasy. It actually feels light in the mouth and has a different flavour.”
Japanese Waygu doesn’t come cheap — it’s priced at CI$10 per ounce at Carnivore.
“I think it’s something every meat lover should try once…” he says, adding with a smile after a pause, “a month.”
Carnivore offers all the basic cuts of meat as well as some gourmet cuts like tomahawk steaks. Special cuts can also be ordered in advance and if they are not immediately available, it can ordered for arrival within a week at the most.
“Our meats are flown in twice a week,” Benoit said. “Everything comes in fresh — not frozen — except for the Waygu hot dogs and the kosher meats.
Another important offering from Carnivore is dry-aged beef. The dry ageing, which gives beef a unique, nutty flavour, is done in Carnivore’s temperature-controlled ageing cellar.
Charcuterie, sausages and cooked meats
Not all of Carnivore’s meats are sold uncooked. It also serves a selection of charcuterie and pre-cooked meats like braised lamb shanks, venison osso bucco, bison back ribs, duck confit and various cuts of meat prepared in a sous vide. These meats are sold in vacuum-sealed wrapping and just need heating using a variety of methods.
“You just put the lamb shanks in hot water and while that is heating up, you can make your side dishes,” says Benoit.
The charcuterie is made in-house by Benoit.
Carnivore also makes its own sausages including bratwurst, bangers, chorizo and jerk pork sausages.
Spices, stocks and fats
There’s also a wide selection of products that will make cooking at home easier — and more delicious — for sale at Carnivore. Various meat stocks, tallow, duck fat and speciality mustard are all available in the display refrigerator.
Edible candles, made with beef fat and good for dipping with bread, are also available.
Look and feel
Carnivore features a modern look, which was helped by the fact that one of its partners is Mike Stroh, an architect who is also a partner of Trio Architecture in Camana Bay. Stroh provided the architectural design for the space while his colleague, Carolina Hane, was the interior designer.
Stroh said the design was inspired by the modernism of today’s world.
“We kept the design clean and simple to really showcase the main attraction at Carnivore: the meat!” he says. “The lighting we used throughout really helps define the different areas within the space. We added wall planters made out of milk jugs filled with fresh herbs to contrast the hard surfaces of concrete, porcelain and wood, making Carnivore a modern, yet warm, place to shop and get together.”
The Carnivore team brings together five people with different backgrounds and expertise. Stroh explains how it all came together.
“A few weeks after Alberto Beraha returned to Cayman from living abroad, he came to me with an idea: to create a high-end butcher shop on island,” he said. “Without discussing it much, I immediately thought that my friend Dylan Benoit had to be the ‘magician’ who could put the whole thing together. Within a few hours, the three of us were in my office going through an explosion of ideas and dreams.”
Carnivore then brought in Operations Manager Eric Schwandt, who had previously served as the manager of West Indies Wine Company, and a strategic partner, Kris Bergstrom, Stroh says.
“After one and a half years of hard work, dedication, discipline and imagination, those ideas and dreams became a reality.”
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “A butcher shop and more.”
About the author
Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians.