17 January 2022
“Our origin story begins somewhere in Mexico,” says Dylan Benoit, chef and one of the owners of Carnivore Premium Meats. “Mike [Stroh] and I were a few cervezas deep, talking about what's missing in Cayman and consuming an unfathomable amount of street tacos.”
A couple months later, Stroh and fellow Carnivore partner Alberto Beraha approached Benoit to discuss opening a butcher shop.
"They felt Cayman was missing a place for higher-quality meat, and it was a gap in the market that we were uniquely qualified to fill," Benoit says. "We enlisted the help of Kris Bergstrom and Eric Schwandt, with their combined decades of hospitality experience, to strengthen our team of partners.”
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Benoit says that from an early age, he saw the culinary arts as a way to express his creativity, travel the world and support himself financially.
He attended culinary school in Toronto before working in various restaurants across Canada. He arrived in Cayman in 2010, where he worked at Osetra Bay before opening Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar, Craft Food & Beverage Co. and several other restaurant concepts with Market Street Group.
After a brief sabbatical tour of Asia in 2016, Benoit returned to open YARA Global Steakhouse prior to starting his own private chef and catering company, Prime Kitchen, which he still operates today.
“I come from an entrepreneurial family," he says. "Both of my parents owned their own businesses. That environment taught me that if you work hard and put the time in, you can create a product, service or brand that will resonate with people."
He saw the potential of Carnivore right away.
"We had a great idea and the right team to breathe life into this concept and provide a service to the people of Cayman.” Carnivore opened in February 2020, just six weeks before the COVID-19 lockdowns began. Through these two years of upheaval, Carnivore has maintained a successful business and devoted customers.
One of the reasons for Carnivore's success is its products.
“Our butcher cases represent two decades of research, knowledge and hands-on experience working in restaurants and learning about food from around the globe," he says. "A detailed tour of our cases alone could take half a day.”
Operating by the slogan “quality above all else,” Carnivore sources the best meats available to offer a premium product with the service and execution to match, Benoit says.
“We strive to always be creative. We're always looking for unique and uncommon meats to keep our customers intrigued and trying new things.”
That mindset has helped Carnivore build a strong local following.
“Seeing the community we've built around the shop is the most rewarding part," he says.
This article was originally published in the January 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.