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It took TANYA WHITEHOUSE a while to decide what she wanted to do with her life. The central Kentucky native dabbled in languages and art history, among other career twists and turns. When she finally sat quietly and listened to what her heart wanted, she decided to follow a love that was cultivated in her grandmother’s farm kitchen- cooking.

About that time Sullivan University initiated their culinary degree program at the Lexington Campus. Through her school externship Tanya found her culinary home, the Holly Hill Inn, where she learned extensively about how to incorporate local food into restaurant menus under Chef Ouita Michel. Tanya stayed after graduation for over 6 years as the evening Sous Chef. Through Ouita’s introduction, Tanya made her way to the Food Connection at the University of Kentucky where she is Program Manager working under Executive Director Lilian Brislen and Faculty Chair Scott Smith. She teaches students and others how to cook with local food, the importance of food cultures, and why they should think about what is on their plates.

Tanya passionately believes that we are inexorably tied to what we eat and that sitting down to a meal together can connect you with other people in a way nothing else can. She insists on bringing hoy and zest into her life through food, colorful apparel, travel, meeting new people, and her collection of gaudy cocktail rings. She strives to learn constantly from many different sources, but particularly from all those creative, talented, wise people she meets. Tanya has ideas for more activities and pursuits than she could ever fit into her already tight schedule, but she still manages to spend quality time with family, friends, and her ancient mackerel tabby Simone.

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