Chef Karen McAthy’s focus is plant-based, vegan cuisine and methods with an emphasis on fermentation and culturing. Karen was born and raised in Alert Bay, a small, island based community along the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. Karen’s work in vegan restaurants, (namely Graze Vegetarian, closed 2015), led to her research for developing cultured plant-based cheeses. Turning to dairy cheesemaking methodology for reference, Karen evolved several cheeses at Graze, and went on to write The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking. Her book won the Canadian section (vegan/vegetarian cookbooks) of the Gourmand World Cookbook awards, and is shortlisted for the international title, with awards being announced in May 2018. She founded Blue Heron, a new vegan cheese shop opening in Vancouver, February 2018.