For David Cross, quality counts. It’s what makes his fresh-made artisan sausages stand out.
“I put a lot of passion and care into making sausages,” he says. “It comes down to texture and taste. You have to have the right balance of flavors.”
He is also particular about the ingredients, which he sources locally. “I don’t use MSG or fillers, and they are hormone-free.”
The Irish native moved to Cayman in 2002 and worked as the head butcher at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for more than three years before launching Caribos Ltd. with his wife Jackie in 2006.
It’s a line of work David knows well – he began learning the ropes in the family butcher shop in Ireland when he was just 12.
“I wanted to create a brand that would stand out and be unique,” he says.
Starting out small, his reputation began to grow when he and Jackie began selling the sausages at the Saturday farmers market in Lower Valley. It helped get their name out, and grow the business.
Now, the couple has taken the next step by opening Caribos 7, a small café and shop in West Shore Center featuring the gourmet sausages along with other menu items.
A big hit is the jerk chicken sausage, David’s first creation for Caribos.
“At the time, no one here was making jerk chicken sausage,” he says. “It took a while to get the recipe to how I wanted it to be.”
Ten years on, his selection of hand-made sausages has grown to around a dozen varieties – spanning from Korma curry chicken, mango and apple to bratwurst, choripan (Argentine pork sausage) and Italian.
“I’m still developing new flavors,” says David, who comes up with his creations – the latest a seafood burger – in his West Bay workshop.
He says running the business has been challenging but the entrepreneurial spirit is in his blood. Along with his father’s butcher shop, most of his seven siblings, at one point or another, have been self-employed.
“We’ve put long hours into the business,” he says. “But I’ve always wanted to work for myself.”
David sells the sausages at his West Shore venture and at supermarkets. He continues to supply a number of restaurants, including The Brasserie and Hemingways, and does catering and special events.
He’s come up with a number of combo plates starring the artisan sausages including the “Sir Brat” (German pork sausage with sauerkraut and mustard); “Mr. Choripan” (Argentine pork sausage with chimichurri, grilled onions, mayo and sriracha); and “Jammin’ Jerk” (jerk chicken sausage with Asian coleslaw, mango mayo and Sriracha). The fresh buns and breads come from Icoa Fine Foods.
Comforting and versatile, he says sausages can dress up just about any meal from pasta dishes to casseroles to soups. They can also be the main attraction.
“They’re great on the barbecue with a few beers,” says David. “The whole business is about having fun.”