Joshna Maharaj will make sure you’re fed, and fed well. She is the Assistant Director of Food Services and Executive Chef at Ryerson University. For the past two years, Maharaj has been the go-to person for all things food related on campus — from the way the university engages with food, to the quality of food being served to students.
“It’s not just that we need to fill the tanks in the bodies of the people on this campus better, but there is a way that I can actually consciously take care of people,” said Maharaj in a personal interview.
One of the main challenges for Maharaj is getting everyone on board to care about food quality on campus and have a vested interest in making it a priority. Food made with quality ingredients, catering to a range of dietary needs at an affordable price.
“If everybody was one hundred per cent on board, all cylinders firing, we would be unstoppable. What slows us down is the fact that I’m insisting on rebuilding the guts. If I just wanted to ride with the pretty food on the plates and not really worry about anything else, this would be a lot easier than it is. This is challenging because I’m pushing to rethink the guts because I want real change. I want that deeper level to happen.” said Maharaj.
It’s Maharaj’s genuine concern and commitment to change the way Ryerson is feeding its students, because she knows the impact and benefit it will have. And while she is surely leaving a mark and seeing positive change in progress, this didn’t all happen without her own set of personal doubts.
“You do the work you want to do, but how committed are you? Before I got this job, every month when bills had to be paid, I would stop and take a look at my bank account and think ‘okay, maybe this is the month where I have to smarten up and get a real job.’ People can spend an entire lifetime not really knowing why they were put on this planet. But I refuse to believe that you would be given your gift and not given the resources to sustain yourself to use it. And that’s what kept me pushing for years and years,” said Maharaj.
When your heart is in the right place and you believe you can make a change, you can turn any job into the dream job for you.
“I spend a lot of time standing on a soap box speaking out to the ether not knowing who’s listening or who I’m impacting or who cares. But this place and this tether and this job has given me an audience, which is something I’m most grateful for,” said Maharaj.
12 People to Watch in 2012: Joshna Maharaj