Sharon Bond is among a growing number of Indigenous entrepreneurs who are taking bannock and turning it into a business. She’s been in business since 2004, cooking, catering and creating, until her dream of opening a real restaurant, featuring “Bannock” was reality in Sept 2009.
Bannock, is the most versatile bread on the planet. Every culture has a fried dough, that’s been made into a sweet or savory meal or snack. When Sharon was researching her business plan back in the early 1999-2000’s, there was not hide nor hair of a bannock restaurant. Although, go to a local pow-wow or gathering on the reserve, and there would be frybread everywhere!
One of Sharon’s memories of bannock, date back to the times of going to a friends house after school, and there would be fried bannock on the stove and a pot of rice (best rezzy meal ever). Her mom, would make the best bread in the whole world, and many times, she would give away all her bread to the neighbors.
Bannock has been around as long as there was a word for it, in nłeʔkepmxcin, the word for bread is seplíl. If there’s a word for it, it existed. Although since time immemorial, this type of bread, was made with Indigenous local ingredients from the earth, such as bitterroot, berries, sunflower root, wild potatoes and wild celery, and sweetened with saskatoon berries or huckleberries. It was thick sustenance that our people survived on as a source of nourishment. Thanks to the evolution of flour, oil, sweeteners, and cast iron pans, we’ve been creating delicious bannock, baked, fried and grilled.
Bond owns the new Canadian Franchise Kekuli Cafe, “Don’t Panic…We Have Bannock!”, and of course, Bannock is a big part of the menu and branding. There is two locations, West Kelowna, owned by Sharon and her husband Darren, and the Merritt BC, location is owned by Franchisee Elijah Mack-Stirling, an Indigenous Youth Entrepreneur, bought into his first franchise.
The restaurants offer Venison Melt Burgers, Wild Sockeye Salmon on Frybread tacos, even Bannock Breakfast Sandwiches. But Bond has given the bread, more of a modern twist, serving it with her invention of gourmet flavors such as Skor, Saskatoon Bannock, Maple Glaze, and other feature flavors. Implementing local cuisine that she grew up on, such as Venison, Wild Sockeye Salmon and Wild Berries.
Take a listen to Unreserved on CBC. This is over 5 years old, but a great look into the life of bannock and how there are so many variations and remember this… “Nobody makes better bannock, than your yeye, kookum, mooshum, grandma, granny or whatever your heritage.”