Interview - Denver - Kavanaugh

Interview - Denver - Kavanaugh



Since 2013, Kate Kavanaugh’s modern butcher shop, Western Daughters, in Denver, has been a model of environmental responsibility, ranching transparency and the spirit of new-wave food business.


WE PUT all our steaks in the meat cases like they are jewelry at a jewelry store.

WE JUST USE a handsaw and a couple of knives. There's a sort of moving meditation to it.

WE CALL it breaking.

WHEN I WAS FIVE, I decided I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. I was a vegetarian for 15 years.

MY GRANDMOTHER came here with her family from Ireland. As soon as they got to the United States, her father passed away. Her mother packed all the girls up and put them on a covered

wagon and headed west to Colorado.

ON THE OTHER side, my great-great grandfather was Adolph Coors’ right-hand brewer.

I FEEL very attached to the space that is between the plains and the mountains, that is sort of neither here nor there.

MORE THAN HALF of our state is grasslands — or was grasslands.

When you lift your fork, it is a political decision.

I CAN SEE marbling shift with the season, how much beta carotene was in the grasses, based on how yellow that fat is.

WE SERVE steaks, but oftentimes, we’re also selling transparency.

WHEN YOU lift your fork, it is a political decision.

THE WHOLE STEER represents, let’s say, 800 pounds of meat.

RIBEYE, strip steak, top rounds, osso bucco, Denver steak. The wonderful cuts. Then there’s ground beef. We call that “trim.” The other part is bone. Bone broth from knuckle bones.

CHEFS, consumers, all of us, need to look east and go for a hike on the plains. The more we connect with that space, the more we’ll respect it.