A Second Act: Two Incredible Ladies In Their 60’s Start A Successful New Jersey Business
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot
The following is a story of realized dreams, hope, inspiration, success, and finding the best friend you’ve always wanted.
One Sunny Saturday afternoon I made my way to Bell Works in Holmdel, New Jersey to meet two ladies with a baking business called, “Must Get Sconed.” They have a booth there every Wednesday and one Saturday a month during Bell Works Fresh Farmers & Makers Market.
Half of this dynamic baking duo has been showing off her fabulous baking skills on the “What’s On Your Plate” Facebook page for several years. Her name is Lisa Elsis from Freehold, New Jersey, and she is one impressive lady. I have been admiring her handy work online for a few years before the curtain went up on her second act.
Rarely do you come across people in their 60’s who decide to give up their previous life to start anew. Lisa spent 8 years running the back office of a furniture store before she was unceremoniously let go. She was allegedly fired for being too old. Unfortunately, ageism is alive and well, but it didn’t stop Lisa from manifesting a lifelong dream.
During the pandemic lockdown, Lisa found her way to the Quarantine Kitchen food blog where she met Amy Adler Scotti. It was on that site they discovered they had so much in common. Both ladies are in their 60’s, both are originally from Queens, New York, both were born Jewish, and both of these ladies have been baking since they were kids. Lisa is now a Born Again Christian, and Amy converted to Catholicism 31 years ago after marrying her husband Richard who serves as a church Deacon.
Amy lives in Monroe, New Jersey, and ran her husband’s dental practice for 15 years before finding success as a professional baker. Kismet is how I would define this sweet, glorious union. After discovering how much they had in common, Lisa and Amy decided to meet up after Governor Murphy gave the go-ahead to let restaurants reopen for outdoor dining. They made plans to have lunch at Peking Pavilion in Manalapan, and that’s where their beautiful friendship blossomed.
They started baking together for fun and soon after, they decided to pursue a culinary arts degree at Brookdale Community College. In the one-year accelerated program, both women graduated with straight A’s, and their business, “Must Get Sconed” was born with the full support of their significant others.
These extremely organized, creative baking geniuses know no limits. They don’t make run-of-the-mill pastries, cakes, cookies, brownies….etc. They make eye-popping divine confections that put smiles on faces.
They only use the highest quality ingredients. Lisa said, “If we can’t spell it or pronounce it, we don’t put it in our baked goods.” Only the finest chocolate from Belgium, the best flour, the best butter, and the finest vanilla is known to professional bakers.
During my visit to Bell Works, I interviewed Lisa and Amy while patrons crowded around their tables full of fabulous baked goods. On that day, their lovely display contained individual French Butter Cakes with Spiced Apples, Seashell shaped French Butter Cakes with wispy dollops of Vanilla Bean Buttercream, assorted jumbo soft and chewy cookies, Irish Soda Bread Muffins, Lemon Raspberry Poppy Seed Muffins, I’m Having a Moment, Raspberry Dark Chocolate Crumb Cake, Rainbow Cookie Cakelets, a wide assortment of their famous scones including Lemon Lavender, Carrot Cake Scones, Fig Ricotta Walnut, Pina Colada, Espresso Chip, and Orange Dark Chocolate Scones, along with several other wonderful baked items, too numerous to mention. It all looked so decadent, so delicious, so incredibly enticing.
These baking Goddesses offered to gift me the baked good of my choice, but I declined. Lisa and Amy insisted, so I opted for the individual-sized Peanut Butter Brownie Cake. If there’s a bakery in Heaven, this is the Earthly model. I realize that it seems I’ve gone a bit overboard with my praise, but as a lifelong home baker with fairly decent baking skills, their work makes me look like I’m walking backward. Time for me to take a class or two, I really do need help with decorating and presentation.
When I got home from Bell Works, I decided to just have a small taste of this Peanut Butter Brownie Cake and leave the rest for dessert, and maybe share it with my husband. I made a cup of coffee. sat down at my kitchen island and took a forkful of this delightful cake. Trust me, when I tell you I could not stop at just one bite. This brownie cake was moist and light. The cream filling was like a soft cloud of peanut butter mousse, and the chocolate ganache-like frosting was dark, rich, and life-altering. These ladies are making magic I tell you, MAGIC!!
Lisa and Amy are an inspiration on many levels. Their courage and perseverance prove to women like me that it’s never too late to live your next dream. They make me want to be a better baker, and they sprinkle their love into everything they make. It was an honor to meet these incredible women.
Please, get in your car and visit “Must Get Sconed” in the marketplace at Bell Works, 101 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel, NJ 07733 on Wednesdays from 11 am to 4 pm. Follow them on Instagram here.