Major: Baking and Pastry Arts
Lauren Baznik has loved baking ever since she was little.
“I was always making up some concoction in the kitchen and experimenting with recipes,” she said. “It wasn’t until I was living in Switzerland where the passion really took off. I loved experimenting with vegan, low fat and high protein recipes for myself and my work colleagues. I was a professional ballerina at the time, so creating healthy treats that could keep us fueled during our long days was a challenge I loved to work with. Of course, I sometimes splurged a little and made delicious, normal desserts too!
“I just love how much happiness is spread in the kitchen. No one can frown while biting into a really delicious cupcake.”
When Baznik decided to transition into a new career in culinary arts, she was living in North Carolina at the time.
“I did a lot of research on what school I wanted to attend, in North Carolina and beyond,” she said. “When I toured the Culinary and Hospitality Center at College of DuPage, I fell in love with the facility and the program. I was so impressed with all of the amazing equipment that was available to us and, of course, the incredible staff of chefs we worked with every day.”
Baznik worked as a pastry chef assistant at Peach and Green in Chicago while she finished her coursework. Having earned her Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts, graduating with high honors, she is now at The Smith in Chicago.
“I want to try so many different things in the industry, from cake decorating to artisan breads to pastries,” she said. “In the far future, I hope to open my own coffee shop and bakery. In the same facility, I would love to teach baking classes to students with special needs.”
She considers College of DuPage a great stepping stone toward meeting her goals.
“I was going through a big career transition, and COD couldn’t have made the process any smoother,” she said. “The Culinary Arts program definitely pushes you in the right direction in the most positive of ways. This program gives you all the tools you need to be successful in the future, and you really do feel prepared to head out into the industry.
“I would tell other students that hard work and passion go a long way. Find a new way to challenge yourself each day and, of course, have fun! I cannot recommend this program more highly.”