Home / Our Team

Meg Barnhart


Founder / Co creator

what I love about my work - I love to create and connect.  My work allows me to do both!  Working with our team allows me to put my creative energy to work in building the business and I love knowing that we are doing something to make the world better.

my professional background - I worked in event management beginning my career in the hospitality industry and eventually in the trade show business.

when I’m not working...I enjoy walking my dog in the Open Lands near my home, practicing yoga twice a week at my favorite yoga studio, Forever Om, sipping on a Manhattan during the cold Chicago winters or on a Fever Tree Bitter lemon with perrier during a hot summer evening, meeting my dear friend Kate for coffee at the Glencoe Roast, watching old movies on a Friday night with my husband and most of all enjoying the many insights and observations of the world while traveling with my three children.  

favorite ice cream flavor is peanut butter and chocolate or Terras sea salt caramel!

favorite spice blend - While I love all of our blends I probably use the Coq au Vin for my personal use most often.  It’s perfect for a rich Coq au Vin worth of a dinner party and also creates a delicious marinade for grilled  chicken.

most memorable dining experience -   My childhood family dinners.  My Mother spent each afternoon searching the Chicago Tribune or pouring through recipe books to create something delicious for dinner.  Our family dinners were served in our dining room by candlelight and lasted at least an hour to an 1 ½ hours each evening.

Jane McKay

 

Co creator 

what I love about my work - it’s a family affair and the zen of slow cooking is my third child. I’m passionate about it, it has helped me learn to let go of expectations and embrace new things, taught me to recognise when I’m pushing too hard in one direction and that I'm happy when I’m busy building a resilient enterprise.

favorite spice blend - I love them all, but the one which gathers most people around my table has to be my favorite. The Smoky BBQ. Oh and when people tell me that they don't like curry at all, and then we convert them with our curried lentil dip!

most memorable dining experience - at 8 years old picking winkles from their shells in a bistro beside the sea in Brittany, France 

favorite ice cream - pineapple coconut paletas from my local Mexican grocery store in Chicago

Amy Loveland 

what I love about my work - I love using my managerial and bookkeeping skills to help run the zen of slow cooking.  I also am proud of the philanthropic side of the business: helping people with disabilities.  

my professional background I have a degree in Finance and worked as an Accounting Manager for a title company.

when I’m not working... My husband, Barry, and I have four children so I have also spent many years managing my wonderful family! I enjoy my kids’ many events on my calendar! To relax, my family and I like to go boating in the summer.

favorite spice blend is Indian Dal, which was a hit with our dinner group!

favorite treats chocolate mint ice cream, Sangria (preferably enjoyed by a lake), and Boston Cream Pie


Melinda Hill

my personal and professional background...I grew up in a gorgeous rural setting, the youngest of 3 children. My parents were kind, loving, hard working, philanthropic, and fun! My mom cooked nearly all of my meals from scratch using organic foods. Fast forward too many years than I care to count, and I'm now the mom of 4 very active teenagers. I changed hats from "working mom" to "stay at home mom" 17 years ago when my second child was born. I first entered the business world after college as a Human Resource Accountant. I managed everything numbers in HR. It was the perfect marriage of my academic strength in math, combined with my love of interacting with and helping people.

My oldest child left for college Fall 2016 and I decided to start the journey back to the business world. I had my dream vision of what the perfect job would look like, and somehow my dream came true with zen.

when I'm not working or spending time with my family... my passion is running. I run for both myself and for my family.

a few of my very favorite things that bring zen in life... the many family dinners shared with meals prepared using my favorite zen blend - Mediterranean; my absolute favorite breakfast is any one that's shared with friends at a small and loved local breakfast restaurant; my favorite place to be at home is sitting on my covered front porch. I absolutely love starting my days there reading and having a cup of coffee in the early morning, watching the sun rise over the pond across the street. I equally love ending my days there answering e-mails, reflecting, and giving thanks.


Linda Cassady

my personal and professional background... From graphic design to photostyling and art direction, if it’s a creative role, I’ve probably filled it!

what I love about my work - Meg and Jane are an absolute treat to work with. Their delicious  products are icing on the cake. The entire zen team makes it all worthwhile. 

favorite ice cream - Nice Cream’s chocolate stout ice cream with brownie bits. Yum!

favorite spice blend - sweet & spicy 

when I’m not working... I cook, draw, and hang out with my dog