AN EGG ON A PLATE. ONE SIMPLE EGG. BUT IT’S MORE THAN THAT. It’s an egg that has just been laid in the chicken coop steps away from your table. “I can turn an egg into an omelette,” says Chef Fisun Ercan. “But I can also boil it perfectly, with a little soft yolk, put some herbs on it, and there! That is the true taste of a fresh egg.” And that is precisely what she’s offering at Bika Farm.
Letting each ingredient speak for itself is at the heart of Ercan’s philosophy. The Turkish-born chef and author — her new French-language cookbook, Racines, has just come out — had always planned to establish a sustainable working farm connected to local producers and fisherfolk. When she closed her Montreal restaurant, Su, at the beginning of the pandemic and decamped to her land an hour from the city, on the Richelieu River, the adventure truly began.
Sitting in Bika’s glassed-in farmhouse kitchen building at wooden tables set with hand-hewn, delicate ceramic tableware and nubby linens, you sense the purpose Ercan brings to this project. There’s a vista before you — fields for growing and foraging (purslane, from Ercan’s homeland, is one of her favourites) and greenhouses for the herbs and greens so key to her culinary inspiration. And then you understand. This is a path for Ercan, one she fervently desires to share through the meals prepared for two dozen-plus diners at each seating.
“It’s about letting each vegetable have its own personality, not about what I want to do with it. That’s my responsibility as a chef, keeping foods in their nature.” Bika is complex in its simplicity, Ercan implies — listening to her ingredients, valuing their voice, letting the earth speak.
Photos by Daphné Caron