Vendor Spotlight: Senza Gluten Free Foods

Mary Manulik understands timing and precise measures. She is a long-time musician, who applies that musical sensibility to her business, Senza Gluten Free Foods.

Photo credit: Kayla Wolf

Mary began gluten-free baking in 1993, when her husband, Joe, discovered that he suffered from Celiac Disease. In those days, she did double duty in the kitchen, baking desserts with gluten for the children and gluten-free desserts for her husband. That is, until she realized the kids were “eating all of Joe’s cookies before he got home from work.”

Thereafter, she made all her desserts gluten free. As she mastered her gluten-free baking skills, she began to sell her goodies to gluten-intolerant friends who struggled to find fresh gluten-free products.

By 2011, Mary was fully committed to Senza Gluten Free Foods, and has since converted her basement into a commercial gluten-free kitchen. Though Mary is the sole baker in her business, Joe often helps out, repairing kitchen equipment and washing dishes. “He is also my No. 1 taste tester, and is always happy to dispose of any leftovers.” On baking days, Mary rises at 4 a.m. to prepare products for the Saturday Columbia Farmers Market.

At the Senza booth, Mary offers a wide array of gluten-free products, including breads, breakfast foods—such as her popular bacon, chive, and cheddar scones—as well as cookies, pies, and cakes.

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Selling at the farmers market has enabled her to “reach a large number of customers who might not otherwise know about my small business,” she said. Customers shop at her booth, and also can place orders to be picked up at her home business. She is also a frequent farmers market shopper. “I enjoy getting to know the other vendors and buying their produce.”

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When she isn’t baking or at market, Mary also offers private cello lessons.

Still a practicing pianist and cellist herself, Mary chose the name “Senza” because it is the Italian musical term for “without.”

Although her goods are “without” gluten, they are not lacking in any other respect. “My goal is to provide freshly baked gluten-free items that taste as good or better” than traditional baked goods, she said.
For more about Senza products and how to get them, visit

Writing by Marcia Vanderlip.
Mary provided her recipe for mini-pizzas using her gluten-free biscuits. If you miss her at the Columbia Farmers Market, her gluten-free biscuits are also available at Hy-Vee on West Broadway, in the Health Market’s freezer section. 

Print Recipe
Homemade Bagel Bites
  1. Split a biscuit in half and toast it. Cover each half with gluten-free pasta or pizza sauce, about 1-2 teaspoons (I use Prego). Cover that with shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with chopped pepperoni or other favorite toppings (Hormel makes mini-pepperoni). Add a dash of oregano or other Italian spices, and red pepper flakes. Bake 9-11 minutes at 425 degrees (probably less time in a toaster oven). Or freeze before baking (freeze individually for 20 minutes, then package together in a plastic bag). Bake frozen bites for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
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