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NBSV 034: Chef Karen McAthy on all things vegan cheese! What's the definition of "cheese", anyway?

Chef Karen McAthy

Karen McAthy joins me from her plant-based cheese shop to talk about all things vegan cheese! Karen addresses the myth that something can be called “cheese” only if it’s made with dairy; the idea of cheese as a process, not only an end product; the differences between types of vegan cheeses, and much more.

Karen is the author of The Art of Plant-Based Cheesemaking, which won its category (vegan) at the Gourmand World Cookbook awards. She’s the co-owner of Blue Heron Creamery, a vegan cheese company, and SOIL, a brand new vegan restaurant.

Listen below!

Important topics and points you don't want to miss:

>> Karen's vegan story and how she became a vegan chef.

>> The myth that something can be called “cheese” only if it’s made with dairy. Can vegan cheese actually be called ‘cheese’? Karen’s approach to answering the “You can’t call that cheese because it’s not made with dairy!” assumption.

>> Cheese is a process, not only an end product. We discuss the role of microbes/enzymes in that process and what purpose they serve to make the end product, and why that matters to the definition itself.

>> Language evolves, which means that colloquial/traditional understandings sometimes give way to new understandings and popular adoption and reinvention of terms - what this means in terms of evolving and innovative food processes.

>> Differences in the vegan cheese world and making sense of the distinctions between cultured and non-cultured cheese (cheese vs. ‘cheeze’).

Connect with Karen:


Download Karina's 350-item vegan grocery list!

Vegan Grocery List by Karina Inkster

Need inspiration for healthy plant-based eating? Need to spice up your daily meal routine? Download your free vegan grocery list! With more than 350 healthy items (some of which might be new to you), you'll be a vegan nutrition superhero in no time.


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