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A Prize to Relish for Dining Services Chef

Marlon Mazier (center) and coworkers celebrated his being presented with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Cook of the Year Award. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Sean Hennessey | Chronicle Staff

Published: Dec. 2, 2013

Surrounded by colleagues in the kitchen where he made his mark, Marlon Mazier, a 30-year veteran of the Boston College Dining Services, personally received his 2013 Massachusetts Restaurant Association’s Cook of the Year Award — almost two weeks late.

Mazier was supposed to receive the award during the association’s annual dinner on Oct. 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 Nov. 12, the award came to him, as MRA President and CEO Bob Luz handed Mazier his trophy and told him, “Your father is up in heaven with a smile on his face.”

Interviewed after the ceremony, Mazier said: “I’m still shocked. I wake up every day and make it to work, that’s what I learned from my dad. 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’s father began working for Dining Services in 1978, and brought young Marlon from Honduras five years later so he could attend Boston College. Instead of enrolling at BC, however, Mazier joined his father in Dining Services.

“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 got married very young, I had a daughter, and so I had no choice but to work.”

Twenty-nine years later, Mazier is not only a husband and proud father of two daughters who graduated from BC, he’s an award-winning cook — the first from a college or university to win the MRA honor. Mazier beat out cooks from restaurants like Davio’s, Legal Sea Foods, Union Café and Bar, Pizzeria Uno and Papagayo’s, among others.

“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 always give 100 percent and it doesn’t matter what situation I’m in. I don’t care who is out sick and if 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 rather than a cook-off, drew a record number of candidates from the association’s 1,800 members. 

“It doesn’t really matter whether someone is putting out $4 plates or $40 plates,“ said Luz. “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 percent of the time, plus the attitude he takes in training colleagues to make sure others succeed around him. There were a lot of accolades about Marlon and about the difference he’s made at BC.”