Karen McAthy is founder and head cheesemaker at Blue Heron Creamery, which makes cultured, plant-based cheeses for restaurants, retail outlets, and private customers. A born and bred West Coaster who has worked in and around kitchens since 2000, she has a passion for local food systems, experimentation, the blending of art and science in cooking, and animal ethics. Hailing from an agricultural background, Karen grew up learning how to grow food, and a deep desire to learn and understand how nature works drives her pursuit of cultured and aged nut and plant-based cheeses. Karen also teaches classes on plant-based cheesemaking and hosts regular creative dining events. She is the former Executive Chef of Graze Vegetarian and current Executive Chef of Zend Conscious Lounge in Vancouver, BC.