708 Anderson Ave.
Dawn Pascale became a baker the usual way: By attending vegan baking boot camp. Hey, didn’t we all?
But the story doesn’t start there. It starts with Graham Kerr and the Galloping Gourmet, an enormously popular cooking show that aired between 1969 and 1971, long before the spate of iron chefs and souped-up cooks who fill the airwaves today. At the time, Julia Child was queen of the TV kitchen.
Dawn was only 5 when she fell under the spell of the Galloping Gourmet. Her mother wanted her to enroll in the morning session of kindergarten, but Dawn insisted on the afternoon session, so that she could watch her favorite show.
Though Dawn went on to become a skilled home cook, her professional life took her into the banking business, with stints at Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.
While she was in corporate America, she was also baking cakes for private clients, family, and friends, but the business started to tank in 2012. “What was I going to do? Start a cupcake company like everyone else was doing?” she asks. “A lot of friends were vegan, vegetarian, and
pescetarian. We’d go out to dinner to a variety of places, but the desserts were less than adequate.”
About a year later, she lost her job and headed to boot camp to study with Fran Costigan, the Queen of Vegan Desserts.
“It changed my perspective on baking,” she says. “Butter, eggs, sugar, and flour were traditional, but I was learning a different way to do things for a grossly underserved market.”
She started renting a catering kitchen in Hoboken’s Pilsener Haus & Biergarten and was peddling four vegan recipes wholesale.
But it turned out, folks weren’t interested in vegan. “People had been captured by the buzzword “gluten-free,” so she combined the two.
Dawn had been living in Hoboken for 20 years and running her business from here, but she needed a larger space. “I love Hoboken to death, I really do,” she says, “but I did not need to live there because I wasn’t commuting to the city.”
Enter Cliffside Park. She now lives in this upriver town and opened Om Sweet Home there in 2013 on the town’s main drag, Anderson Avenue.
The shop offers granola bars, parfaits, cinnamon rolls, muffins, micro cakes, scones, cookies, doughnuts, bread, rolls, coffee, tea, nondairy butter, and cakes to order.
The company supplies retail shops in NYC, Brooklyn, and Glen Cove; and in N.J. in Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater, Millburn, Fort Lee, Montclair, Andover, and Morristown. Visit om-sweethome.com to learn about events and classes.
Dawn describes the rewards of accommodating a one-year-old who has never eaten a cookie in his life, or a senior citizen who is deathly ill but can now eat the brownies he loves.
“When you allow yourself the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do in life, I can’t describe it,” Dawn says. “The satisfaction, the love, the passion, the purpose, it’s amazing.”—Kate Rounds