World Events

Oh Miyoko! (In the Middle of the Night They Stole your Name)

Miyoko Schinner

(Image credit: Miyoko’s Creamery – Facebook)

As we finalized our Vegan Bloc Pizza recipe for launch last spring, we were pleased to find more options in cheeses and toppings than one might have imagined even a few years before, but in the cheese category, there was one clear winner.  Miyoko’s Liquid Mozzarella was, first and foremost, undeniably delicious and ineffably close to the platonic ideal of gooey 80’s arcade pan pizza that inspired our menu.  Beyond that, the company (like Vegan Bloc Pizza) had been founded by a progressive woman of color, under whose leadership it demonstrated consistent dedication to the cause of veganism apart from profit.

Miyoko Schinner managed to hold the helm of the company and continue her vegan activism as Miyoko’s Kitchen climbed to a valuation of over a quarter billion dollars in under a decade.  Such rapid growth, however, was blood in the water to a new wave of capitalists who rushed in to acquire or hobble together their own “plant-based” unicorns.  But where earlier entries to the segment had been driven at least in part by a belief in animal rights, these newcomers’ sights were set squarely on profit.

Not a lot has been made public about the nature of the conflict that arose between the founder and other interests over the past couple of years, but some of Ms. Schinner’s own reflections after the falling out point to a conflict between founding values and our economic system.

“Is it just a competition where the winner takes all? The current model supports a few gaining a lot, and then some through consolidation, while others never get their foot in the door. And by the way, we are a society that celebrates winners, no matter at what cost it took for them to win.”

This struggle came to a head on February 16th, when the company she had founded spontaneously announced Ms. Schinner’s termination, and took legal action, accusing Ms. Schinner of  industrial espionage just days later. 

We at Vegan Bloc Kitchen are watching closely as events develop, but also experimenting with other products and combinations. At present, the cheese developed under Miyoko Schinner remains the best fit for our pizzas, but we will be looking for cheeses that leave that great taste in our mouths without leaving such a bad taste in our mouths. If any of our readers or customers would care for alternate cheese recommendations, please comment accordingly.  Our kitchen experimentation has left us with a wealth of information about non-dairy cheeses and where we have found their best application.

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