Leading the way to a sustainable future: One recipe at a time | Tawny

Last month, we met Eddie and Carmen, two Bon Appétit dining hall workers who shared with us two things: their vision for a more sustainable future, and a delicious family recipe. Last week, we met Ms. Kim, a worker from Chicago Public Schools (CPS), whose lunchroom workers fought for four months this Spring to make their vision of freshly-cooked food for Chicago’s children a reality. Today, we bring you another installment in our recipe series.

A graduate of Chicago’s Le Cordon Bleu College of the Culinary Arts, Tawny Butler-Bosques credits her mother — a long-time teacher’s assistant — with jump-starting what would become a lifelong passion for food. Tawny and her two older sisters grew up eating a variety of different foods, from Polish pierogis to Matzo Ball Soup, introduced to them by their mother, a teacher’s assistant in the city. Through her work, “she met teachers from India, she met teachers from England, she met teachers that were Jewish,” Tawny explained, “[And] they would give my mom these foods and she would bring it to us, so we grew up eating different types of food.”

After a childhood in which she was exposed to a great variety of different spices, seasonings, and flavorings, it’s no surprise that Tawny ultimately decided to make a career out of her love of cooking. She enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu, and when the time came for her to participate in an externship required by the program, she chose not to go abroad or study in one of Chicago’s prestigious restaurants, but to work with children in one of Chicago’s over 600 public schools. The experience was such a powerful one that she decided to stay even after graduating from her program. “I’ve been there a year, and I got to know the teachers and the students,” she explained, “Part of me wants to leave, but then I think of the bonds that I have with some of the kids. [I feel proud] that I’m kind of changing the kids’ eating habits.”

Tawny shared a recipe for Chicken Risotto, one of many she learned during her time in culinary school. Her risotto is a perfect easy-to-prepare meal, and could even be a great way to use up a bit of chicken or turkey leftover from your holiday dinner! Check out the recipe below, and stay tuned for more profiles and recipes from workers across the country.

Chicken Risotto
serves 4-6
prep time: 45 minutes


  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 chicken breasts


Cook rice according to package instructions, until creamy. In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until golden brown, then dice. Stir diced chicken and parmesan cheese into rice, serve and enjoy!

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