Penn Dining Wins Two NACUFS Awards for Their Events and Programming

A group of women seated in a row for a panel discussion in front of a bright orange graphic background.

Clara Park (far left), executive chef at Quaker Kitchen, chats with (L to R) cookbook author Klancy Miller and guest chefs Sarah Thompson & Tonii Hicks

Big congratulations are due to the culinary team at Penn Dining who just won two silver awards in this year’s National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) competition!  

When Quaker Kitchen’s (QK) executive chef, Clara Park, saw author Klancy Miller’s cookbook, For The Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspiration, and Recipes, she knew she wanted to highlight the book with an event at QK — not just for the students, but for her own team of phenomenal black women and femme culinarians.  

So last fall, Quaker Kitchen hosted a book launch party for Miller’s book — in partnership with Philadelphia’s Sisterly Love Collective, an alliance of women in food and hospitality with a mission to empower and uplift women in the industry. The partnership helped Penn reach a broader audience from the West Philadelphia community. 

The team put together a tasting menu from Klancy’s book, including a range of menu items like hibiscus honey-mustard salmon, island greens with avocado, mint, and mango, and calypso persimmon baked chicken wings. Guests entering the dining area were immediately transported into a cookbook come to life. Aromas of baked smoked okra, octopus with squid ink hush puppies, and spiced oatmeal cookie cakes wafted from kitchen to table and vibrant colors of gorgeous illustrations decorated the walls, highlighting each of the book’s 71 chefs.  

Four women smiling at a culinary event.

Penn’s women chefs have a moment in the spotlight: (L to R) Tisa Scott, unit leader, Amanda Ruzann, sous chef, Ebony Walden, food service worker, and Malieka Davis, cook.

Guests could get their book signed by Klancy, and Chef Clara also invited chefs from the book to participate in a panel discussion to complete the amazing event, which won the silver medal in NACUFS Residential Special Event of the Year category.  

Dine Well, Eat Smart 

Penn Dining brought home their second silver medal for Dine Well, Eat Smart in the Wellness & Nutrition Program of the Year category. This dietitian-led nutrition and wellness education series sits at the intersection of nutrition and food and wellness trends, delivering an engaging and educational food literacy series for Penn students that includes online newsletters and in-café culinary events.  

A selection of dishes from Penn’s DWES plant-based street food event.

The content is built around themes like Good Food, Good Mood; Snacks to Support Sustained Energy; and Sustainable Eats. This trend-driven program provides engaging, relevant, and food-focused nutrition education. Flexible and dynamic, the multi-layered program provides accessible content for students at all stages of their wellness journey.  

Congratulations to all at Penn Dining on their thoughtful, delicious, and immersive events and educational series—these wins were well-deserved!