Karen McAthy

From Farms to Forks 10: Meet Chef Karen McAthy

On October 6th, we are hosting our 10th annual From Farms to Forks harvest kitchen party at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. Our guests will wander from kitchen to kitchen to watch chefs in action, meet growers, and enjoy delicious tasting plates - each paired with a different wine from Mission Hill Family Estate.

From Farms to Forks pairs some of the province’s BEST CHEFS with B.C.'s FINEST GROWERS AND PRODUCERS. From Farms to Forks is Growing Chefs’ biggest fundraising event of the year and we hope to raise $70,000 this year to support our 2019/2020 Classroom Gardening & Cooking Program.


One of these featured chefs is CHEF KAREN MCATHY of Blue Heron Creamery who is paired with Hazelmere Organic Farm & BRAD HENDRICKSON of Biota Fermentation. They will be serving:

Jalapeño Poppers
Blue Heron garlic scape cumulus cheese, Biota fermented jalapeño, savoury granola crisp

Blue Heron Creamery produces plant-based, cultured and aged products. They sell 100% dairy-free cheeses, butters, yogurt and preserves

Photo Credit: Mavreen David Photography


What are your favourite seasonal vegetables?

“In spring, asparagus and nettles. In summer, tomato and B.C. kelp. In Fall/Winter, Brussels sprouts.”

What is your favourite meal to cook for yourself?

“Eating peas, radishes, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and more straight from the garden.”

What advice can you give to a child who wants to become a chef?

“Be willing to learn. Be willing to work hard. Be willing to challenge yourself and be challenged. Drink a lot of water.”

Why do you believe programs like Growing Chefs! are important?

“Connecting youth to how food is grown and produced is fundamentally important, and likely at some point to be revolutionary. The disconnect in urban populations around how food is produced and transformed is mind-boggling. Programs like Growing Chefs! provide an important opportunity to engage youth at a stage when curiosity is still rich and imagination can be stimulated.“


Thank you Chef Karen, and thank you Mavreen David Photography for capturing these beautiful photographs for us!

See you at #FFTF10!

Celebrating International Women's Day and Local Food Businesses

Last year on International Women's Day, we celebrated 10 women who have made a big impact at Growing Chefs! We included our founder, classroom volunteers, our female staff, and some of our community supporters. This year we want to celebrate a few female owned and/or run food businesses that are connected to Growing Chefs! As Melinda Gates says, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”

Photography from  The Globe and Mail .

Photography from The Globe and Mail.

Karen McAthy of Blue Heron Creamery and Soil

Chef Karen is a long time supporter of Growing Chefs! She has volunteered in the classroom, been a chef at multiple From Farms to Forks (our annual Harvest Kitchen Party), put on fundraising dinners to support us, and she has been even hosted volunteer appreciation events for us. She recently delivered a plant-based cheese tasting at our 2019 AGM. Chef Karen is the head chef and owner of Blue Heron Creamery making delicious plant-based cheeses and co-operator of Soil, a plant-based eatery in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant community. On top of all her accomplishments, she is also an award winning writer for “The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking”.

Photography from  Port Moody & Co .

Photography from Port Moody & Co.

Taryn Barker of The Little Butcher Shop
Port Moody

Taryn Barker is the owner and head butcher of The Little Butcher Shop in Port Moody. Even with most butchers in Canada being male, The Little Butcher Shop has a almost all-female team. Taryn is the driving force behind supplying local BC meat to her customers and being a strong supporter of local food companies. This spring, Taryn is returning for her second year volunteering in a Growing Chefs! classroom.

Gabriella Mayer of Harvest Community Foods

Gabriella is the chef and co-owner of Harvest Community Foods in Vancouver’s Chinatown and former Growing Chefs! classroom volunteer. Harvest Community Foods sells local, organic, and seasonal foodie goodies, as well as has one of best noodle menus in the city. It is also the only place in Vancouver to get a chef-picked CSA (community supported agriculture) bag with produce from local farms. Chef Gabe is a fierce advocate for supporting local food systems and businesses.

Photography from  Central Park Farm .

Photography from Central Park Farm.

Kendall Ballantine of Central Park Farm

Kendall is the head farmer and owner of Central Park Farm. She became inspired to start feeding her family food that she knew exactly what was in it and where it came from, so Kendall left her corporate job to become a farmer and opened Central Park Farm. Central Park Farm raises free-range, pastured, and grass-fed animals. They also have Farmer Ashlee from Inner Peas Market Garden growing beautiful, organic vegetables on the farm. Did you know BC has the most female farmers in all of Canada?

We love to celebrate women and the impact that they have on their communities. But, it’s one thing to celebrate women and another thing to invest in them. Here at Growing Chefs! we challenge you to invest your money where your best intentions are and support more female-owned businesses year-round. We know we will be!

Thank you to all women making an impact on their local food systems and in their communities. And let us know who they are - tell us about your favourite female-owned business. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!