Ana Roš, the chef who moves the lines

Double Michelin star and Honorary President of the Bocuse d’or Europe 2022, the Slovenian chef advocates personal and environmentally friendly cuisine.

© Susan Gabrijan
Chef Ana Roš in Slovenia, home of her two-Michelin star restaurant Hiša Franko.

On March 23 and 24 Ana Ros held the honorary presidency of the Bocuse d’Or Europe. The chance to look back on the career and culinary philosophy of a chef who won two stars for her restaurant in 2020 in one fell swoop Hisa Franko, in Kobarid, a small Slovenian town ten kilometers from the Italian border. The one who described her very recent mission in the Bocuse d’Or Europe as… “a very great honour, especially for someone who is self-taught”, talks about the challenges she faced during the two days of the culinary competition: “Assessing was not easy. I could never work as a Michelin inspector, because it is very difficult to disregard your own cultural prisms” when reviewing a kitchen she told us.

Then add: “This experience was both a challenge, but also something completely new for me. There were eighteen teams of four to judge, which was a lot of work…and a lot of food to taste!” The fact that she was named honorary president of this competition seemed to her to confirm a certain evolution in the way time boiled: “The Bocuse d’Or is a world of great chefs; my style is a little different. Entrusting me with the presidency of this event is a message which consists in saying that the world of gastronomy is not ‘one’, but that there are many ways to express yourself culinary.” In other words, the lines move, and so does the concept of ‘grande cuisine’, “Especially in recent years. It is now allowed to have your own identity in the kitchen, which I find very interesting and important. For example, in France there are classic gastronomic restaurants, but there are also more personal tables, where the chef gives his own twist. These types of tables are more accepted these days, both by critics and customers. It’s a big step forward in the kitchen. There is more diversity

Hisa Franko

In her restaurant surrounded by nature, located in the mountains and from where you can see the sea, Ana Roš stands for green, seasonal cuisine, but also “very personal, very authentic, very light and feminine”† The ecological responsibility of the restaurant Hiša Franko was rewarded by the guide Michelin, who awarded it a green star. The chef only buys from local producers and draws a zero-waste kitchen, as close to the season as possible. The wines are also selected for their ecological responsibility and the cellar brings together natural and biodynamic labels. Technically, Ana Roš brews widely and varies options, while her cuisine stands out in taste, she says, for her extensive use of spices, in keeping with Slovenian culinary tradition.

The restaurant team consists of forty people, respects almost absolute gender equality and works according to “a fairly standard organization” where the chef takes care of the creative part. “A dish is put on the map when it has been approved by me, my chef de cuisine and my sous chefs”, they detail. On the customer side, the majority is Belgian, Dutch, Austrian and German. There are also Hungarians and Croats and, from May to October, American customers, who come for the summer season. “The team is also very international”, adds Ana Roš, who speaks several languages. “In total we have twenty-two nationalities in our ranks The warm, family atmosphere of the place completes the experience, which takes place in the Soča Valley.

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