#98: Miyoko Schinner on Innovation, Corporate Responsibility, and Pioneering the Cheese Revolution

Miyoko Schinner shares her journey pioneering a plant-based cheese revolution, discusses the vital importance of ethical business practices and corporate responsibility, and reveals some exciting plans she has for the future.


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Miyoko Schinner, a visionary entrepreneur and advocate for ethical living, stands as a prominent figure who spearheaded a vegan cheese revolution and transformed the landscape of plant-based cuisine. With a deep-rooted passion for animal welfare and sustainability, Schinner embarked on a remarkable journey that redefined the possibilities of cruelty-free alternatives in the food industry.

Born with an innate love for animals and a desire to make a positive impact on the world, Schinner became acutely aware of the inherent ethical and environmental issues associated with conventional dairy products. Determined to challenge the status quo, she set out to create a solution that would allow individuals to enjoy the flavors and textures of cheese without the need for animal exploitation.

Drawing upon her extensive culinary expertise and dedication to innovation, Schinner founded Miyoko's Creamery in 2014, a groundbreaking company that would become synonymous with artisanal vegan cheese. Through tireless research and experimentation, she developed a range of plant-based cheeses that replicated the complexities and indulgence of traditional dairy, captivating the palates of vegans and omnivores alike.

Beyond the creation of delectable vegan cheeses, Schinner pioneered an entirely new standard for ethical business practices. With unwavering commitment to transparency and sustainability, she weighed the balance of every aspect of building a company with her core values and ideals of social responsibility.

Schinner's visionary leadership not only revolutionized the concept of vegan cheese, but it also inspired countless individuals to reconsider their dietary choices and embrace a more compassionate lifestyle. Her unwavering dedication to animal welfare and sustainability serves as a powerful reminder that positive change is not only achievable but also essential in the face of pressing global challenges.

Miyoko Schinner stands as a true trailblazer, leaving an indelible mark on the world and setting a new standard for the intersection of culinary excellence and ethical entrepreneurship.

In this episode, learn how plant-based cheeses moved from rubbery blocks that wouldn’t melt into a large variety of tasty flavors, shapes, and styles, primarily thanks to Miyoko Schinner’s passionate innovations in the alt-dairy food industry.

Miyoko shares her inspiring journey from a traditional Japanese childhood to international fame, revealing the importance and value of an activism-driven business mission to propel success, not just in business, but more significantly in the nationwide impact of ethical practices and promoting social justice.

Michelle & Toni 


  • Miyoko’s childhood experiences, from a traditional (mostly vegetarian) Japanese diet to her reactions to trying ice cream and pizza for the first time.
  • How Miyoko became vegan despite being a cheese aficionado who hosted wine & cheese tastings in her dorm (while her friends still ate cheese whiz).
  • How her love for French cuisine and her refined tastes drove her to bring that richness of flavor to vegan food.
  • How a close call with the Japanese mafia brought Miyoko back to the U.S. to open a restaurant there.
  • How serving plant-based cheese products in her restaurant motivated Miyoko to spend years developing better options.
  • How she discovered the similarities between the dairy cheese fermentation process and soy or plant-based cheese fermentation.
  • How publishing a book on her discoveries, Artisan Vegan Cheese, launched a whole new industry.
  • How trying to start a local vegan cheese shop turned into an international e-commerce business after receiving $50,000 in online orders their first weekend.
  • How she landed an account with a local Whole Foods within a few months, and nation-wide at Whole Foods within a few years.
  • What it was like being at the forefront of a scientific endeavor: the successes and failures of a venture that had never been attempted before, making large batches of vegan cheese that even food scientists didn’t yet have answers to.
  • What motivated Miyoko to stand up against legal battles over wording and labeling issues and how that victory set a legal precedent for the alt-protein food industry.
  • Why she developed a non-profit youth program, LEAP, to provide an alternative to 4H and FFA.
  • How she maintained an activism-driven business mission, weighing potential compromises with moral principles and guidelines.
  • A discussion on the moral and ethical obligations of businesses and how making ethical business decisions can often, ultimately align with economic success.


Miyoko's Cookbooks:

  • Artisan Vegan Cheese
  • The Homemade Vegan Pantry
  • The Vegan Meat Cookbook
  • Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional
  • The New Now and Zen Epicure


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EP. 97 - Practical Ethics with Philosopher Peter Singer


We are so grateful to have the support of some of our favorite vegan-friendly brands this season. 

 Suckerpunch Pickles

Calling all pickle lovers! Have you tried Suckerpunch? They're known for their 'On the Go' pickle packs and juices, and they offer a delicious and convenient way to enjoy pickles anytime, anywhere. Made with a commitment to quality and health-conscious consumers in mind, Sucker Punch ensures that their pickles are Non-GMO, providing a natural and wholesome snacking option. They are bursting with flavor.

Almond Cow

Have you ever made your own nut milk or oat milk? The Almond Cow plant milk maker makes it oh-so-easy! With just nuts (or oats) and water, this innovative device allows you to create your own fresh and creamy plant milk in just one minute. Say goodbye to store-bought cartons and hello to a sustainable, zero waste option! The Almond Cow not only eliminates the need for single-use packaging but also gives you control over the ingredients. We love it!








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Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links, and we may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that we've linked to these products purely because we personally use and recommend them and they are from companies we trust. There is no additional cost to you.


When it comes time to please a crowd, the pressure in on. You want to serve delicious, memorable dishes, and you’re also well-aware that many will be skeptical of vegan food measuring up to their favorites.

That's why we wrote this book, packed with our most foolproof, rigorously tested, and widely loved recipes that will win over even the most die-hard meat lovers.

The Friendly Vegan Cookbook is filled with meals that will become your new favorites and go-to staples for when you have meat-eaters to impress. Because amazing food should be shared. Let's get this party started!


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