By Jacob Elliott
Aug. 8, 2017
This piece is published as part of a continuing series profiling vendors at the Old Cheney Road Farmers’ Market, which KZUM is proud to sponsor this season.
A good loaf of bread is hard to find. It’s even harder when a person has celiac disease or wheat allergies. However, Phil Seng, owner of P.S. It’s Gluten Free, hopes to change that with a variety of gluten-free breads, pastries and other delectable treats.
Seng initially started the business around 2014 as a way to cure some of the the day-to-day boredom that came from being a stay-at-home dad. He started to bake in order to creatively express himself.
His wife, Mary Beth, had celiac, meaning that she could not properly digest wheat. In order to counter this, Seng would look up various recipes in books and online in order to make these tasty treats.
“The baked goods are not that good in the mass produced frozen section,” Seng said. “I am not a celiac, but I didn’t want my wife to suffer anything, so I was like, if I’m going to eat this stuff with you, I want to make it good. And thus started a renovation of my baking skills.”
It started with chocolate chip cookies, and it went on from there. Seng felt that a number of mass produced gluten-free products were rather poor in quality. As such, Seng would experiment with the recipes and other creations to find a suitable substitute. Some of these succeeded, while others fell flat.
Seng noted that the community helps his business. Old customers return and recommend the business to new and curious customers. Seng’s business also provides a more social aspect, as he talks to his customers and takes their advice on certain products.
“I always have samples on the table, so I get instant feedback,” Seng said. “I don’t normally fear feedback, or at least I don’t think I do. I have customers who keep on coming back because they like what we do.”
Seng said that even though he gets a number of these recipes from public spaces, the way he creates them is unique to his own style. He noted how baking could easily differ from cook to cook through the way they follow the directions and experiment with the recipes.
Seng spends a good 40 hours in the kitchen baking various treats and goodies. This involves a lot of prep-work, such as making and storing dough, and a lot of clean up. According to Seng, the amount of dishes is massive and because certain pans don’t react well to the dishwasher a number of them must be washed by hand.
Seng is currently a part of the Old Cheney Farmers Market board of directors. As a director, Seng reviews the applicants for the market, and helps to decide on any issues that come up to any number of issues; restrooms, parking, stall spaces and a variety of minor and major issues.
You can find P.S. It’s Gluten Free at the Old Cheney Farmers Market each week, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 55th and Old Cheney.
KZUM is a proud sponsor of the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market. Look for live local music in our Listen Local tent each week. For more information, visit oldcheneyroadfarmersmarket.com.
Like P.S. It’s Gluten Free on Facebook.
Jacob Elliott is one of KZUM’s tireless summer interns. Applications for our fall internships are open now. Apply here by Aug. 25.