Major: Baking and Pastry Arts
Maria Kozi baked a lot as a child.
“My dad baked and I would watch him,” she said. “Going to pastry school was a dream I always had.”
Growing up in Lombard, she was familiar with College of DuPage and knew it was an affordable option. Kozi started looking at pastry programs and was impressed by the facilities and COD’s Culinary Arts program.
“The program at COD was great in preparing me for work in a commercial kitchen environment,” she said. “In addition to learning techniques that I didn’t know, it gave me an opportunity to meet other industry professionals, learn large-scale production techniques and manage production schedules in a way I never had to do.”
Kozi earned her certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts and, several months later, fulfilled her dream goal.
“I got an unbelievable opportunity to open my own bakery just a half mile from my house, so that is what I have been doing—owning and baking for Kneads & Wants Artisan Bakery and Cafe in Skokie. Currently, we are looking to expand our enterprise and we may open an additional location.”
Her advice to prospective COD students is to take good notes because the instructors provide a vast amount of relevant information.
“Some of it may seem unimportant in the moment, but their anecdotes and experience are priceless,” she said. “Take advantage of all of the resources you have available on campus. You are unlikely to ever have so much equipment, space and expertise available to you again.”