Unpacking the Meatpacking District: A Fifth Generation Daughter Remembers a Storied Meat Purveyor
Presented by Jacquie Ottman
While today's Meatpacking District is known for its trendy restaurants and avant-garde art, it had been New York's meatpacking hub for over a century. At its height, the neighborhood was home to not only meat wholesalers and retailers, but dozens of heretofore little understood “meat purveyors” – the “secret sauce” behind New York's top steakhouses including Delmonico's and Peter Luger. It's time to explore one of the most important industries in New York City history, through the very special lens of Ottman and Company, the storied meat purveyor dubbed the “Tiffany of the Meat Business.”
Join us on this fascinating journey led by native New Yorker and fifth generation member Jacquelyn Ottman. Her family of pioneering meat purveyors traces its roots to 1850 in NYC’s historic Fulton Market before setting into the West Washington Market in the now-famous Meatpacking District in 1918. Her family’s pioneering firm’s history parallels the story of New York City’s Meatpacking District – including its architecture, grit, and ability to cradle the present and the past while creating something entirely new and special.
Afterward, we'll have a Q&A with Jacquie — any and all questions about New York's meatpacking industry are welcomed and encouraged!
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About Jacquelyn Ottman
Jacquelyn A. Ottman is a native New Yorker and an advocate for zero waste. Over her 40-year professional career, she was a consultant to industry on green marketing and the author of several books, including three editions of “Green Marketing” (Berrett-Koehler, 2012), considered the definitive text on the subject.
A scratch cook since childhood, and the fifth-generation daughter of a family that supplied some of NYC’s best restaurants with the finest quality meats since 1850, she is now focused on culinary issues.
She is the author of three self-published books on her personal culinary history: “Family Gatherings: Five Recipes from Five Generations” (2000), a collection of family recipes; Connecting from a Quarantine Kitchen: My Shelter Island Pandemic Story (KDP 2020), and “Ottman and Company: Meatpacking District Pioneers” (KDP 2022), the story of her family’s 150-year old NYC meat purveying firm that worked with DuPont, WR Grace and Clarence Birdseye to pioneer meat packaging technologies that changed the way meat is prepared in restaurant and home kitchens today.
An immediate past chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board, she is currently focused on reducing food waste by writing a book aimed at inspiring home and professional cooks to discover the joy in transforming leftovers from yesterday’s dinner into something new and special.
A graduate of Smith College with a degree in art history, she is a member of the Culinary Historians Society of New York and the Authors Guild.