Co-founder of Cabrito Goat Meat
Cabrito has a one-sentence mission statement: to put all billy goats born in to the dairy industry into the meat industry.
As an ex-chef, James Whetlor didn’t set out to create an award-winning business. He founded Cabrito Goat Meat with his girlfriend Sushila, after needing help to manage their overgrown garden that hadn’t been touched in years. The idea was that four goats would help clear the ground. A chance meeting at Taunton farmers’ market introduced James 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 also 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 sale was to Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis in March 2012; and through word-of-mouth and thousands of miles on the M3 and M25 from Devon to London, James was soon supplying top restaurants. Today, Cabrito supplies over 70 well-known establishments including Mark Hix, Temper, St John, Quo Vadis and new restaurants on the ever-changing food scene, in both London and nationally.
To reflect the increasing demand and appetite from diners, James has developed a range of products, making kid meat widely available to buy online through the Cabrito web shop including leg, shoulder chops, diced and mince.
Cabrito Goat Meat won an Observer Food Monthly Award (2014) for Best Ethical Producer, Good Housekeeping’s Champion Meat Producer (2016), Young British Foodies Meat Award (2016) and was a finalist in the BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards 2017. James has appeared on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch and was on Channel 4’s Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux Jnr. He is regular on the events and festival circuit including River Cottage Food Fair, Abergavenny, Ludlow Food Festival, Wilderness, Food Rocks and Meatopia.
James is the International Director of Goatober, working closely with partners in New York and North America, Europe and Australia. In October 2016, James brought the month-long goat meat celebration, Goatober, to the UK. Originating in New York in 2012, James 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. In 2017, James hosted Goatober events in London, Bristol, Manchester, Somerset, Northern Ireland and Amsterdam. In 2018, there were Goatober events in London, Bristol, Ireland, New York, Rome, France, Amsterdam and Ibiza. James spoke on sustainability in the goat diary industry at the international food symposium Food on the Edge in Galway. Tabasco and Big Green Egg are co-sponsors of Goatober.
James is consultant for the European ‘Food Heroes’ project, which aims to end food waste in farming across the EU.
GOAT: Cooking and Eating, James’ first cookbook, was published in April 2018 by Quadrille. It has been widely acclaimed as genre-defining and has been included in Delicious magazine and the Spectator’s Book of the Year lists.