Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom

Press Release - December 5, 2022

Primary Contact:
Cindy Valdez Barrios

Secondary Contact:
Matthew McDermott 

Loyola University Chicago and Loyola Dining partner with NakiNoku on New Tasting Experiences

CHICAGO, IL – December 5, 2022 

Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health and Loyola Dining are partnering with NakiNoku, a food sampling platform based in Chicago, on a tasting event to be held December 7, 2022, at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Following NakiNoku’s recent release of sample boxes supporting minority and women owned food brands, the tasting event will feature products from three minority and women owned businesses including four innovative recipes developed by students in the Parkinson School’s Dietetic Internship program 

Loyola students will vote for the best recipe–and the winning brand will be featured in a chef’s table event with Loyola Dining Services. This partnership highlights the Parkinson School’s innovative experiential learning opportunities for dietetic students. For NakiNoku, this was an opportunity to match minority and woman-owned businesses with dietetic students for a unique learning experience.  

“This first internship class has been a great opportunity for us to help support our partner brands with innovative recipes and other marketing support through the Dietetic Internship” said Tonny Thomas, CEO, NakiNoku. “We have to find ways to support our local small businesses. Strong businesses lead to resilient communities.”  

Changes in the country’s demographics with an increased ethnically diverse population demands that nutrition professionals also become more knowledgeable in their awareness of culturally relevant food practices. Understanding the “why” behind consumption of certain foods and the cultural norms surrounding these allow nutrition experts to have a better understanding of their patients.   

 “This is a win-win collaboration. The experience empowered our students to build skills by developing and evaluating recipes as part of an interprofessional team. It is also an example of Loyola’s commitment to Neighborhood Initiatives supporting involvement as a catalyst for local economic development. And this may broaden the food universe for Loyola students in the dining halls.” said the Parkinson School’s Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD. 

For the winner of the “best recipe” challenge, the minority-owned business will be featured on the Loyola Dining menu as “Recipe of the Month” during January 2023.  

Loyola Dining is excited to continue finding innovative ways to partner with the University, students, and local minority-owned businesses. This tasting event will elevate the campus dining experience and support the local economy, by allowing students to sample new flavors and ingredients.  To register and find more information about this event, click here 


About Loyola University Chicago’s Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health 

Loyola University Chicago launched the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health in Fall 2019 to educate the health entrepreneurs of the future and impact health care accessibility and equity nationally. The Parkinson School offers 19 degree programs and three certificate and internship programs in four areas of study: Public Health Sciences, Healthcare Administration, Health Informatics and Data Science, and Applied Health Sciences. The School builds on the foundations of Loyola’s nationally recognized Stritch School of Medicine and its Biomedical Programs, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, and Loyola’s partnership with Trinity Health (known in the Chicago area as Loyola Medicine). To learn more about the Parkinson School, visit LUC.edu/Parkinson or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaParkinson or Instagram via @luc.parkinson. 

About Loyola Dining 

Loyola Dining Services is the hospitality provider at Loyola University Chicago for residential, retail, and catering dining options. Loyola Dining’s core mission is to provide an excellent guest experience with nutrition, sustainability, and innovation as the pillars of its operations. In alignment with its core mission, Loyola Dining aims to maintain sustainable partnerships with local businesses and source locally. To learn more about Loyola Dining visit LUC.CampusDish.com or follow us on Instagram @Dine_Loyola 

About NakiNoku 

NakiNoku is a food sampling platform that allows consumers to order sample boxes containing sample sized packaged food such as sauces & condiments, spices & seasonings, breakfast spreads etc. from local small minority and women owned brands. This enables consumers to discover new tastes and flavors while reducing the food waste typically associated with food discovery, and supporting local minority and women owned businesses. Sample boxes containing 6 unique samples can be ordered on NakiNoku’s website at www.nakinoku.com starting at $9.99 with new samples being added regularly. Follow us on Instagram and TikTik @nakinoku