Tennessee State Alum partners with Marquette University to bring allergen-free desserts to the dining hall

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — A local business is partnering with Marquette University to give students with dietary restrictions more food options in the dining hall.

Thanks to Marquette’s Eat Local initiative, products from Pink Bakery Inc. are coming to Marquette.

Nubian Simmons is the owner of Pink Bakery, which makes allergen-free baking mixes. It’s a local, black-owned business on the Near West Side, and Simmons says the idea behind his business stems from his personal issues with food allergies.

“I’ve been allergic to milk all my life. We were trying some of the allergy-free things and they weren’t that good, so I struggled in that space,” Simmons said.

The owner of Pink Bakery describes a childhood full of lacks to enjoy her favorite sweets. “With my siblings, when we would go out, they had a brownie a la mode, apple pie, all these amazing desserts and I had to have orange slices, and I was sick of having orange slices. ‘orange, I wanted cake,’ she said. .

In an effort to have her cake and eat it too, Simmons created her baking line. “I had no cooking experience, but I had a desire to make things that would taste amazing and wouldn’t hurt me,” she said. Simmons wants to continue helping others with similar experiences and says partnering with Marquette and Sodexo’s Simple Servings program will do just that.

Simple Servings is a program that gives students peace of mind by providing meals free of major allergens. “The only thing Simple Servings lacked was that dessert option that we wanted to be able to offer students,” said Anthony Damico, executive chef of Marquette Dining.

Chef Damico says after sitting down with Nubian and hearing his story, he knew it reflected what many students on campus experience with eating issues. Clare Kirchner, a freshman at Marquette, is one such student. I have dairy, egg, peanut, and tree nut anaphylaxis,” Kirchner said. She says choosing a college scared her because she knew she needed a place that would help support her food needs. “I didn’t think I could live in a dorm because of the food allergy restriction,” she said. Her experience with the Simple Servings program made her feel safe.

The Pink Bakery collaboration is part of Marquette’s Eat Local initiative to bring a taste of Milwaukee to the dining room.

Brian Kawa is the Resident District Manager of Marquette Food Services. “In the spring of 2021, we launched the local initiative here on campus, where we partnered with local restaurants who may have struggled during the pandemic, to bring them to our dining centers.” Kawa says that over the summer, that effort continued. As a black and women-owned business, Simmons says she is grateful for the support. “It’s a dream come true,” she said.

Marquette’s dining room is also open to the public. You can also visit thepinkbakery.com to learn more about The Pink Bakery.

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