After considering options that included Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America, Emily Klezer boiled her choices to Howard Community College (HCC) and Frederick Community College. She toured both campuses and met the chefs who would be her professors.
“Howard was more organized and a lot nicer,” she says. “It was such a beautiful program and the professors were unbelievable. It was absolutely perfect from day one and I fell in love with the school.”
Klezer began in fall 2019 as a baking and pastries major but has since expanded her studies to include coursework in culinary and hospitality. “It’s going to make me more versatile for bigger jobs,” she says. “I love being able to pick up more skills in a short amount of time.”
She recently answered a few questions about her journey:
What led to your interest in culinary studies?
“It was my grandma. She passed away before I was born, but my mom gathered all her recipes and told me stories. Grandma was the type of person who just baked and stuff away. She just loved the joy on people’s faces. That’s the same thing I love, making stuff and watching people be super grateful. Baking is my way of connecting with her, even though I never met her in person.”
How did you get started?
“My mom enrolled me into homeschool baking classes and bought cookbooks for me. Then I got on YouTube to look up stuff on own. I was just obsessed with the kitchen when I was younger. My main goal was getting into the baking and culinary program at the Carroll County Career & Technology Center. I went there during my junior and senior year of high school, and it gave me a jump start into HCC.”
What have been your favorite HCC courses?
“I took advanced baking and pastry, which was really fun. It was the debut class and we were like the guinea pigs. I also took artisan bread. In culinary, I’m getting ready take international cuisine which I’ve heard wonderful things. In hospitality management, I was able to understand why things cost what they do, how to order things, and how to break down deliveries.”
What do you like most about the program?
“I don’t know to explain it other than it’s perfect. We’re taught to maintain the quality of equipment. We have all sorts of new pots and pans and trinkets that we use. It’s given me insight. We also have a bakery production class where we’re able to produce a large amount of stuff in bulk.”
How much attention is given to changes within the industry?
“We’re constantly sitting down and having discussions about it, at least once a week. We talk about what we see (as workers) in the industry, and what changes are going on. When I was taking the hospitality management class, we talked about that a lot and had projects on changes and protocols. The program is 100 percent real time on everything that’s happening.”