Above: UK chef, author and Goatober pioneer James Whetlor. PHOTO: With Love Project
When people think of eating goat in Trinidad and Tobago, the first and probably the only thing that comes to mind is curry goat.
This humble animal is far more versatile than we give it credit for. And someone who is promoting the many ways we can enjoy goat is journalist and foodie Franka Philip.
Philip is leading GoatoberTT, an initiative that’s going to put goat higher on the local culinary agenda. GoatoberTT is the Trinidadian version of Goatober which currently takes place in eight other countries around the world.
GoatoberTT will be officially launched on June 26 and culminates on October 19 with what Philip describes as “a Festival of Goat”.
She said her fascination with the versatility of goat came when she lived in the UK, more than seven years ago.
“Of course, I love a good curry goat but I got really curious when I came across recipes for different cuts of goat in ways I never imagined, ” she said. “I started to experiment with cuts like leg of goat and goat chops but when I got back to Trinidad in 2012, I realised it wasn’t as easy to readily find those cuts.”
The Caribbean Beat food writer said she’d been thinking about doing something special with goat for a while, but made up her mind after she was introduced to UK chef James Whetlor, the man who introduced Goatober to the UK and Europe.
Goatober was started in the US by Erin Fairbanks and Anne Saxelby, who wanted to end the practice of euthanising young male goats that the dairy industry had no use for.
Whetlor did something similar in the UK and now those male goats are raised and sold to the restaurant trade.
Whetlor also authored the award-winning cookbook Goat – Cooking and Eating.
“James has real vibes. He runs a slick online shop called Cabrito which sells different cuts of goat, as well as sausages and other goaty products.
“His book is a revelation. As soon as I read it and started getting to know him and about the phenomenon that is Goatober, I was inspired to do something special here.
“Our first event was a small dinner in December at Aroma Culinary Studio in Woodbrook where Chef Bianca Bianco dazzled our guests’ tastebuds with dishes like steamed goat wantons, rogan josh and goat cheese and herb ravioli.”
Whetlor is going to be in Trinidad on June 26 for the official launch of Goatober TT.
The Dorset, England chef will also participate in several events including a workshop with farmers from the T&T Goat and Sheep Society on June 27, an intensive butchery and cooking class aimed at chefs, caterers and serious cooks at The Academy for Baking and Pastry Arts on June 28 and Cuisine Cruisin, a public picnic event where he will be cooking live on June 29.
“James is extremely excited about coming here. He can’t wait to share his knowledge about goat and eat a legendary Trini goat roti,” Philip said.
“It’s not often we have chefs of James’ calibre here so I hope farmers, serious foodies and chefs take the opportunity to see him and come to learn from him.”
For information about GoatoberTT and participating in events with Chef James Whetlor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the event pages below.
This story was originally published in the T&T Guardian on June 15, 2019.
GoatoberTT Public eventsJune 28 – Goat – More than Just CurryButchery and cooking workshopAcademy of Baking and Pastry ArtsJune 29 – Cuisine Cruisin’Picnic and live cooking featuring James Whetlor