Since she began working for Community Church at Tellico Village in August 2017, Nadine Mazienis has been known affectionately as the “Krazy Kitchen Coordinator.”
As 21-year residents of Kahite, she and husband, Richard, have served food at events for the Knights of Columbus at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Lenoir City, and they cook regularly for the Tellico Village Polish Heritage Club.
Mazienis first started preparing food for the masses when she and Richard spent 10 weeks working for Sokol, a Czech compound in New Buffalo, Mich. The couple cooked breakfast and dinner for more than 100 people every weekend.
She now puts her skills to use by coordinating lunches and dinners for guests at regular church events. While most activities were canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are making a comeback soon like the Lunch Bunch, a monthly social for members of Adult Community Training.
The monthly spaghetti dinner and similar events were adapted to accommodate for drive-through pickup, which she said fed 215 diners one month.
Mazienis said her job is to be available to the church whenever needed. She has also found other ways to improve church food services.
“I just have the attitude that, ‘Hey, you’ve got to have fun doing this.’ You can’t take it so serious, and if things go wrong, you just handle it,” she said. “… Part of the job description was getting a purveyor or a vendor to deliver the food here at the church because they had no one. I was familiar with Gordon’s Food Service, so I got them on board. That was in my job description, and so was getting the health department on board for the kitchen to make sure we meet the standards. I’ve gotten — the first time they came to the kitchen, I received a 100. Now, it’s 99 because they don’t give 100s anymore. We have it posted on the wall, and that was one of the objectives that had never been met before by the previous kitchen coordinator.”
Mazienis facilitated the installation of freezers, refrigerators, a stove, a serving window, an island and countertops. She said equipment was breaking down “little by little” until replacement was inevitable. She’s proud of how far the facility has come since she joined the staff.
The Rev. Stephen Prevatte, church pastor, said Mazienis is an asset to the church. Not only is she easy to get along with, but she makes great food, which is a “really great thing because we like to eat.”
“Everybody really seems to enjoy her presence on our staff,” Prevatte said. “… I think the unique thing about her is her ability to get along with so many people. When you have so many different personalities in our area, it’s fun to be able to have someone that you don’t have to worry about. She just gets along really well with folks.”
Mazienis coined the title “Krazy Kitchen Coordinator” because events can get crazy. She embraces the chaos.
She also enjoys working with people at events and interacting with guests.
“I mean I enjoy the people, and I look forward to these events and trying to make — well, you can’t make everyone happy — at least trying to do it if you can,” she said. “And if they’re not happy then just handle the situation. But that’s what I like is just working with the people. Not only the volunteers that help in the kitchen, but the people that you interface with.”