Founded in 2012, The Zen of Slow Cooking is a women-owned spice manufacturing business.
In 2012 Meg Barnhart, founder and co-creator of the zen of slow cooking, wanted to create a business that could employ individuals with learning challenges - adults like her son, Doug. When she started slow cooking in 2006 to ease her mom-guilt and get a healthy dinner on the table, she never imagined the slow cooker would be a vehicle for change. With her vision in place, she began looking for a partner to help turn her dream into a reality.
A few months later Meg met Jane McKay, a young mom and together they launched their slow cooking whole foods slow cooking recipe blog. Shortly afterwards, adapting their most popular recipes, they created a line of award winning, premium, Non-GMO spice blends to help the home cook. Their first hand-packed spice blends went on sale at the summer Lake Forest Farmers Market in 2013, followed by the opening of their online store in 2014.
After appearing as finalists on Peapod's Next Best competition in 2016 with their Chicken Tortilla Soup using their Southwest Fiesta blend, they launched a series of slow cooker meal kits with Peapod online.
Since the early days of their spice business, Meg and Jane turned their dream to reality and with their partnership with Planet Access Company in Des Plaines they now employ 30 adults with disabilities to complete the labeling and packaging of their blends. In addition they conduct cooking classes in an outreach program into various communities, including most recently in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.
Today, they continue to grow their brand locally and nationally, under their recently acquired non-GMO certification and approved B Corporation status. In addition to their industry awards for leadership and SOFI (Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation) award in the best new spice product category last year, Meg recently received a prized business leadership award from the Specialty Food Association.
They continue to share their passion for bringing people to the dinner table with a simple, slow cooked meals through all these partnerships.