The Dining Hall staff members at Concord Academy often are unappreciated. Their tireless work, effort, and dedication to nourishing the community can get lost in the chaos of the busy academic day. When a student reports to kitchen duty twice a year, they are reminded of how hard the job is.
Maria Kazanjian (she/her) is the Food and Operations Manager at CA. Kazanjian began working here 15 years ago and has enjoyed it since her first day. She previously worked at many hotels as a restaurant and banquet manager. “I was looking at new places to go, and found that this [CA] was open,” she stated. “As soon as I interviewed here, I knew this would be a great fit for me.” She was aware of the benefits of not only the opportunity to work with students, but also to be surrounded by an energetic community. “The campus was beautiful, and honestly, it was just a great place to work.” She recently marked her 15-year anniversary of working at CA on October 4 of this year.
“The best part of my job is that every day is different,” Kazanjian continued. “I get to interact with the students! It’s different than working in an office or in a business. I prefer to work with people.” Switching jobs was an interesting change for her, as she initially went to college for engineering. While there, she realized that working with numbers was not something that she wanted to do. She said, “Hospitality is where I wanted to be, so here I am!” Kazanjian does not view her job as difficult but notes that there can be day-to-day challenges. “Things change quickly,” she stated. “You have to be flexible when there’s something that’s not planned, [and] you need to be able to react to it in a positive way.”
Although Kazanjian thinks that the students are very responsible and respectful in the dining room, she believes that there are improvements the CA community could make. One of the changes she suggested was being more conscious about cleaning up in eating spaces. She also makes a note about the servery, stating that she hopes that CA can be more attentive and thoughtful around the gluten-free area. “It’s really important that the allergen station stays safe,” Kazanjian emphasized. She also believes that the students using the Upper Stu-Fac during meal times should be more diligent about cleaning up. Despite the occasional challenges, Kazanjian loves working at CA. “I have two daughters, 16 years old and 12 years old,” she stated. “I’m really happy to be able to be a positive influence in the kitchen.”
Kazanjian’s words should act as a reminder to the community to be mindful of the effort and attention that the Dining Hall staff put into their work. Whether going to the sandwich station to ask for three slices of turkey, or to clean up your plate in the Upper Stu-Fac, be mindful of what the dining staff do. Their work in the community is what makes living at CA possible.