In the beginning, there was flavour
OTTO GOURMET is a speciality mail-order business focussing on exclusive meat products. It was established in 2005 by the brothers Stephan, Michael and Wolfgang Otto. Stephan Otto was working as a management consultant in the USA at the time. During a barbecue party with business associates, he tried his first Wagyu steak, which he had previously ordered online – and he was thrilled.
The tenderness and extraordinary flavour of the meat compelled him to phone his brother Wolfgang in Germany immediately. He told him about the experience he had just had and his vision of importing this exclusive meat to Germany. Wolfgang Otto, managing the retail marketing segment of a food company at the time, was immediately on board.
Together with their third brother, a qualified aerospace engineer, they launched their small business from the stereotypical garage – located in Heinsberg in the German Rhineland region, rather than sunny California, however. But this did not keep the three brothers from succeeding. Quite the contrary: what began as a part-time project fuelled by a passion for good meat has since developed into one of the most renowned companies dealing in the sensitive food product.
Nine of Germany’s ten three-star chefs are customers of the family-run business from Heinsberg. Around 80 employees are serving approximately 1,000 professional buyers from the crème de la crème of the catering segment, along with approximately 50,000 private customers. The OTTO GOURMET kitchen team tests all products before they are sold. Only meat that fulfils the stringent criteria of the in-house chefs, all of whom have been trained in the top gastronomy sector, is included in the product range.
In September 2011, the meat experts opened Germany’s first “meat competence centre” (Fleischkompetenzzentrum – FKZ) in Heinsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia. As the name suggests, it is all about meat: there are training courses explaining the quality and flavour of different breeds of livestock and professional seminars that teach attendees to carve and prepare whole animals. Customised cuts are made in own production, while the ageing chambers refine the products to perfection – all based entirely on customer demands.
Wolfgang Otto (born in 1968) is the face of OTTO GOURMET and responsible for marketing and sales. The graduate economist is one of the leading meat experts in Germany. His knowledge of meat, its texture and, above all, the features and intricacies of its flavour is almost unparalleled. He is a lecturer at the “Jeunes Restaurateurs Akademie”, published author and TV expert. In 2008, he represented Germany at the European Meat Forum in Ireland. His continuous quest for the best products in existence is fuelled by a passion for meat and extremely high quality standards. And his quest takes him all over the world. Regardless of what he is dealing with – be it US-sourced Wagyu Kobe-style beef (the most expensive beef in the world), primordially nutty pork from Spanish pata negra pigs, or the perfect chicken from Miéral in Bresse/France – only the best is good enough. After all, “a good meal always starts with a good product”.
|Stephan Otto (born in 1966) is responsible for strategy and business development at OTTO GOURMET. He has considerable influence on the orientation of the various product ranges and the customer service department of the company. His passion and motivation is to get people enthusiastic about “good meat”. He is committed to selecting products on the basis of stringent criteria, including sustainability in production, devoted breeders, humane animal husbandry and acceptance in the top-class catering segment.|
|Michael Otto (born in 1967) is the driving force at the meat competence centre in Heinsberg. At OTTO GOURMET, the trained locksmith and graduated aerospace engineer is responsible for the operative-technical workings of the entire operation: from IT to cooling and logistics.|