A cut above: Ana Ziadeh celebrates 50 years at Residential & Dining Enterprises

As dining hall worker ANA ZIADEH remembers it, about 25 years ago, she walked into the office of SHIRLEY EVERETT, senior associate vice provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises at Stanford, unannounced, and declared: “I don’t want to be the little helper anymore.”

Ana Ziadeh. (Image credit: Erin Attkisson)

Everett, she recalls, liked her style, and connected her with the study materials and the test to become a Level IV food service worker, a step up that meant more responsibility. Ziadeh studied two hours a day for a week and passed the test.

In the context of that moment, Ziadeh’s life journey looks a lot more like gumption than serendipity. First, there was a friendship with a priest in her coastal Colombian hometown led to a job opportunity at a medical clinic in the big city, Barranquilla. Then, good rapport with a patient earned her a nanny position with an art professor and, later, a similar job with an oil executive’s family in San Francisco. Finally, at a Stanford bus stop in 1970, Ziadeh made a friend who was her entrée to the student-dining world.

In 2020, she celebrated 50 years of employment at Stanford — the longest of all 250 dining employees — in a role she says she gained with the help of supportive managers and her can-do attitude (she calls it, with a glint in her eye, “the Colombian way”). Over the years, her specialty at Wilbur Hall has become salads. One fall, a student from Hong Kong hunted her down to report that he’d been craving her Caesar salad all summer.

“It was so nice that he said he thought about my food the whole time he was back home,” Ziadeh says.

Read the full article and a few of Ziadeh’s recipes on Stanford magazine‘s website.