La Quercia

Slow Food Italian Restaurant

It’s not easy playing in Vancouver’s highly-competitive restaurant game. The bar is insanely high and restauranteurs need to find whatever edge they can to stand out. For Adam Pegg, chef and owner of La Quercia—a small but mighty Italian restaurant in the bustling neighbourhood of Kitsilano—it’s all about doing things the old way to get results.

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His menu is seasonally focused and framed within the slow cooking tradition expressed in northern Italian cuisine. Adam knows the provenance of every ingredient that enters the kitchen. And as far as he’s concerned, the closer they grow the better they taste. The results are clear, La Quercia’s list of awards is impressive, to say the least, including Restaurant of the Year (2011), Best New Restaurant (2009) and repeat winnings of the city’s best casual Italian offering.

Among Adam’s secrets is 150 sq ft of raised beds squeezed in between the restaurant and their two-car parking lot. Growing in the beds are a few key foods that help showcase the garden fresh, local, fresh flavor approach to the menu—zucchinis, tomatoes, kale, and herbs. And with them all the way is a line-up of large Oyas.

“These Oyas have allowed me to offer a small slice of farm-to-table right here in the city. With everything else I have on the go there’s just no way that I have time to fuss over a garden. I just know that I plant up my beds and fill my Oyas when I think of it. From that comes this zucchini jungle.”

— Adam Pegg,  Chef and Owner La Quercia

As chef and restaurant owner, Adam’s time is very spoken-for. Hours are painfully long and there’s no such thing as a leisurely afternoon tending the garden. He needs serious production with limited effort. Adam made a wise choice to fill the beds with Oyas to help him maximize the time, skill and space that he had. And the results have been incredible. Restaurant level food production with more time spent harvesting than tending. Now, that’s amore.

We say nice work Adam.