BC's Marlon Mazier Named Massachusetts Restaurant Association Cook of the Year
first cook from a college or university to take mra top prize
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (November 2013)–Surrounded by colleagues in the kitchen where he made his mark, Marlon Mazier, a 30-year veteran employee of Boston College Dining Services, received his 2013 Massachusetts Restaurant Association’s Cook of the Year Award.
Mazier won the award during the association’s annual dinner on October 28, but he missed the ceremony because he was in Honduras helping bury the father who brought him to Boston College 30 years ago. So on November 12, the award came to him as MRA President and CEO Bob Luz handed Mazier his trophy while telling him, “Your father is up in heaven with a smile on his face.”
“I’m still shocked. I wake up every day and make it to work, that’s what I learned from my dad,” said Mazier after the ceremony. “My dad would never let me – if I went out the night before I had to get up and go to work the next morning. It was something that he taught me. So that’s how I do it, that’s how I look at my job. Never in a thousand years did I would think I would win this award. All I expected was to get paid for what I do.”
Mazier says his father began working for the Boston College Dining Services in 1978 and brought his son from Honduras five years later so he could attend Boston College.
“He wanted me to go to school and I wanted to work for a year to save up some money. That was the promise that I made him,” said Mazier.
But life had other plans.
“I decided to get married, I had a daughter, and got married very young so I had no choice but to work.”
Twenty-nine years later, Mazier is a husband and proud father of two daughters who graduated from Boston College. In winning the award, the Mazier beat out cooks from restaurants like Davio’s, Legal Sea Foods, Union Café and Bar, Pizzeria Uno, and Papagayo’s among others, becoming the first cook from a college or university to win this statewide award.
“I think I was picked because I come in with a great attitude,” said Mazier. “It doesn’t matter what I’m going through - I leave it at the door. I come in and I always give 100% and it doesn’t matter what situation I’m in. I don’t care who is out sick and we’re shorthanded. I try to work it out with the people that I have. You’re never going to hear me say it’s not my job. I’m here to do a job and to help people.”
The award, based on a nomination process and not a cook-off, came after a record number of nominations from the association’s 1,800 members.
“It doesn’t really matter whether someone is putting out $4 plates or $40 plates,“ says Luz, the MRA President and CEO. “Typically, there’s been a lot of persuasion behind rewarding the traditional line cook from a fine dining establishment. When Marlon’s application came in, we said, ‘You don’t see this type of dedication’ and what was apparent is he has a passion for what he does.
"What the judges saw in Marlon was unparalleled loyalty and passion. A 30-year career. Putting out great product 100% of the time, the attitude he takes to the way he trains colleagues in making sure others succeed around him. There were a lot of accolades about Marlon and about the difference he’s made at BC.”
A difference maker indeed. Mazier is in charge of roughly 3,000 meals a day.
“Marlon has a total grasp of the operation,” says Paul Rielly, Production Manager for BC Dining at McElroy Commons. “He knows everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, he knows where they are most beneficial to the unit. He’s always calm and he’s got a great management style. He is a manager, pretty much.”
And a man who, ironically, says stress may be the recipe to his success.
“There’s stress everywhere, this job especially,” says Mazier. “But you learn how to deal with it. I think the stress is what drives us to get something done. The stress to me is a challenge.”
A challenge Mazier has met every step of the way, as evidenced by this statewide recognition.
“I’m still shocked - it’s processing in my head right now,” says Mazier. “Maybe I’ll go home and have time to think about it and process winning with all those restaurants in the competition. Right now it’s still hitting me.”
--Sean Hennessey, News & Public Affairs; firstname.lastname@example.org