My wife’s favorite channel is the Food Network, and one night while watching “Cupcake Wars”, we noticed that one of the contestant bakeries was from our neck of the woods.

Papa Ganache in Matawan.

But who knew that the master baker is not only the baker, but is trying to do some good in the community as a social worker.

According to this:

Lisa Siroti is not a vegan or a baker, but her vegan bakery, Papa Ganache, was good enough to win a recent episode of “Cupcake Wars.”

Now Siroti, a social worker by trade, hopes that her bakery’s win on the Food Network’s popular cupcake baking competition – which pits four bakeries from across the nation against each other – will not only boost Papa Ganache’s business, but also help to achieve the goal that got her into the bakery business in the first place: improving the lives of young people in need.

Three years ago, Siroti and friend Todd Pisani, who was a vegan and a baker, opened Papa Ganache as a business that was one part vegan bakery, one part social service agency.

Siroti said that the producers of “Cupcake Wars” called the bakery a few weeks before it moved from Keyport to Main St. in Matawan, asking for an audition tape.
But Siroti said her bakers were basically “like underdogs” heading into the competition because of the obstacles they had to overcome just to get to the competition.

However, Siroti said her bakers were still able to “bake off the competition,” which included another vegan bakery and two regular bakeries, in a challenge to be featured at a VIP party the People’s Choice Awards.

For its victory Papa Ganash won $10,000, which Siroti said helped cover the large financial investment it took to participate in the show.

Papa Ganache’s move to Matawan, coupled with its “Cupcake Wars” win, has resulted in an increase in business, which Siroti said has paid dividends to the social service component of the bakery.

She said, “We work with children on their self esteem, confidence, productivity, being part of our little community, catching them do something good, and helping kids who have anxiety depression, anger-management issues, and family and peer conflicts. … We provide effective and appropriate interventions to these children and their families so they can function as good as they can get,” said Siroti, adding Papa Ganache is a medicate-rehabilitative agency that works within the care-management systems for both Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

Siroti said the youngsters, who range in age from 5 to 22, come to the bakery to hang out with their providers. They bake, they shop, they help out around the bakery, or they just hang out with other kids, including at the regular “Supper at Papa’s” events the bakery hosts to help them socialize.

Siroti said, “For kids who have these types of challenges, sometimes (coming to the bakery) is their only opportunity to socialize, because they’re feeling isolated or they just have challenges making social contact,”.“ We’re looked to as a pretty strong and effective social service agency in Monmouth County. We’re creative problem solvers and we’re very non-traditional about the interventions that we use. Because just sitting in an office with a 10 year old, is not always as effective as it could be."

Baking for a great cause, helping kids in need.

Lisa Siroti and her crew at Papa Ganache…or Ray’s Ray of Hope – Posse Positive People of the Week!

If you know of a person or organization that brings a little Ray of Hope to New Jersey, drop me a line with a Like on my Facebook page at Ray Rossi (The Jersey Guy), or on my page at