Zarah thought she wanted to be a dental hygienist and applied for admission to Howard Community College’s (HCC) program. As she awaited word on whether or not she was accepted, she signed up for a few culinary classes, just for fun. It was while taking those classes that Zarah realized it was possible to turn her personal passion for baking into a solid and meaningful career path. Soon afterward, she disregarded her letter of acceptance from the dental hygiene program, and instead declared a new goal – to earn a culinary degree.
“I loved everything about the baking and pastry program, so I was that student who arrived early, stayed late, and asked a lot of questions,” said Zarah. “My passion was quickly recognized, and it paid off. I was offered an opportunity to participate in a work study program, working one-on-one with a chef at HCC.”
For Zarah, work study meant fun and new experiences. She volunteered often and got involved in events happening on the HCC campus, outside of class. She learned how to make candy, sugar flowers, and stacked cakes. She got to enter baking competitions and network with leaders from many of the organizations she hoped to one day work for. The stars aligned for Zarah when the chef from Victoria Restaurant Group visited HCC, searching for new talent to be part of their team. One week after she walked across the stage to collect her diploma, she stepped into Victoria Restaurant Group’s kitchen as their new pastry assistant. Since then, she has been promoted several times and today, serves as their pastry chef.
“I love what I do,” said Zarah, whose confections can be found at Manor Hill Tavern, Food Plenty, and Victoria Gastro Pub. “It is exciting to come up with new ideas and try different things on the menus at our restaurants.”
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