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Off The Hook owner proving women can win in the meat industry

Post Date:03/06/2020 3:44 PM

 

When she began her career in the male-dominated meat industry over 30 years ago, Christine Ortega may have seemed like an unlikely candidate to one day own her own meat shop.

But that was only unlikely to those who don’t know Christine Ortega.

“I wanted them to teach me how to cut meat, and I was kept being told that I couldn’t do it physically,” said Ortega, who opened Off The Hook Meat Shop at 14960 W Indian School Rd. in Goodyear six months ago. “I’m the kind of girl that you can’t say, ‘You can’t do something,’ because I’ll make sure I can do it.”

Off The Hook is the first business that Ortega has owned and operated. She owes that milestone to her persistent nature.

“I basically fought until they started to teach me how to cut meat,” she said. “It took me about two years in the industry to get them to teach me how to cut meat.”

Ortega runs Off The Hook, which sells only USDA Prime beef and hormone-free pork and chicken, alongside her husband and son. She hopes her daughter-in-law will soon join the team, as well.

During her 30-plus years in the industry, Ortega has helped a number of women follow in her footsteps.

“I’ve had at least 15 apprentices in my career, and half have been women and half have been men, and all of them have become successful meat managers, and I’m very proud of that,” she said.

And for women who are interested in pursuing a career in the meat industry, Ortega has a simple piece of advice.

“Go for it,” she said. “It’s a fun business. It’s a male-dominated business, but you can do it. If you really have a passion for cooking and a passion for food, this is the industry to get into.”