Best Farm-to-Table

Bika Farm and Cuisine: Sustainable Fare with Turkish Flair

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A small plot in Quebec yields delicious results, earning it
Best Farm‑to‑Table restaurant.

Dish by dish, it becomes clear that much of the work at Bika Farm and Cuisine is done by its ingredients. Taut just‑picked lettuce leaves dressed in a simple vinaigrette are dusted with earthy, tart beet powder, a past season brought back to life. Perfectly ripe, bright watermelon and garden tomatoes swim synchro in a palate‑dazzling gazpacho sprinkled with feta chips. This is just the beginning: A Bika supper spans a dozen mind‑altering dishes over four servings.

November 3, 2021
Halibut crudo with peas, sea buckthorn, rose petals and herbs served on earthenware from cult, Montreal-based ceramics studio ceramik b.
Halibut crudo with peas, sea buckthorn, rose petals and herbs served on earthenware from cult, Montreal‑based ceramics studio ceramik b.

Bika’s solarium dining room seats 28 and is attached to a fully kitted kitchen right beside a garden supplying ingredients that travel only a few metres to diners’ plates. “I don’t call it a restaurant,” says chef Fisun Ercan. “It’s a farm and a kitchen.”

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Ercan, who believes that eating sustainably is about respect for nature, opened this spot 45 kilometres southeast of Montreal in 2020, intent on using only what she can grow or can acquire from neighbouring farms and small‑scale producers, including the limited amount of fish and meat on each menu. On a September afternoon, the chef emerges from her garden, arms laden with ivory‑skinned eggplants. What is picked on a given day will be eaten that day – or it will be preserved, pickled or dried in order to make good on each crop while it is abundant, and to create the ingredients for next week’s, month’s, year’s menu. Nothing is wasted.

Bika’s solarium dining room

Bika, says Ercan, is an attempt to recapture her childhood on the Aegean coast, where her mother cooked from a bountiful garden and her father played host to friends and neighbours. “We lived in a natural way,” she says. Here, Ercan is like a child in her parents’ garden, smiling with satisfaction as she slices, hollows out and then stuffs her eggplants, which appear during supper as dolma, filled with perfectly cooked rice, tomato and herbs.

As each course is served, Ercan explains the Turkish inspiration in her menu and the in‑the‑moment creativity that brings each dish to the table. “My ultimate goal is to create an awakening,” says Ercan. “Anyone can cook this way. It just takes attention and willingness to do it.”

bika.farm

slideshow of images of food and farm

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