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Ana Roš. Foto: Reuters
. Foto: MMC RTV SLO
Roš and her team. Foto: Reuters

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Year of Ana Roš, world's no. 1 female cook: 150 flights in 365 days

Hiša Franko has had its best season ever this year
30. December 2017 ob 11:37
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

We’ve had several guest chefs but I’m very nervous ahead of today’s dinner,” explained Hubert Wallner while introducing Ana Roš at a pre-Christmas event prepared at his restaurant Saag Ja on Wörthersee.

When that kind of statement is uttered by someone who is regularly hosting Thomas Morgenstern, a retired Austrian ski jumping star, as well as the political elite of Austrian Carinthia at this very same, sold-out event (the price was 270 euros), it speaks volumes of the reputation Roš enjoys among her culinary peers.

To say that Hiša Franko, run by this Kobarid-based chef, has had its best season so far would be an understatement. In January this year, Ana Roš was named the world’s best female chef in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants selection, and since then her pace and schedule have been brutal.

The foundations for this year's season, which has been a record one in all respects, were set last year when the restaurant in an idyllic location bellow the Alpine peaks and the Soča River was discovered by Netflix – Roš was featured in an episode of the Chef's Table documentary series, which aims to introduce the best chefs of the world.

The frenzy was triggered by Netflix
By then, Roš had already built a reputation within the inner chef circle of an excellent, daring and independent cook without any culinary school education, who successfully combines local ingredients with her cosmopolitan breadth, but Netflix took her name much further. Suddenly, it was impossibel to hear any Slovenian in Hiša Franko - the tables were occupied by Americans for several months, and foreigners from all over the world even outnumbered Slovenians in the kitchen team after having filled the e-mailboxes of Hiša Franko with requests for apprenticeship.

Among them was Emily Walden Harris, an American of Korean descent, who by the age of 28 had already worked in all the best restaurants in the world, but somehow she felt most at home in the relaxed environment of Hiša Franko. Harris was quickly promoted to Roš’s sous-chef and is able to hold down the fort, full of young, well trained team even when the mistress and the master, sommelier Valter Kramar, are away from home.

Hiša Franko – 69th best restaurant in the world
And the mistress was away a lot this year. As expected, after Roš was crowned best female chef in January, succeeding Elena Arzak, Nadia Santini, Helena Rizzo, Helena Darroze and Dominique Crenn, in March Hiša Franko for the first time ever became part of the 50 best restaurants list by debuting in 69th place.

Roš then fled the media, who mercilessly begged for interviews, to "recharge the batteries" to Srilanka before switching into higher gear for the remaining part of the year. Cooking in London at ChefStock, reinterpreting Mayan cuisine in Mexico, cooking with the best Asian chef Gaggan Anand in Bangkok, cooking at a wedding in India, visiting the Maldives, Brazil, Australia, Tokyo as a guest chef as well as working with world’s best chefs at the Gelinaz event in Austria, at Care's in Alta Badia and at the Ikra Festival in Sochi ...

In the meantime, a handful of promotional events in Slovenia, weekly visits of the most renowned foreign culinary writers, struggles with Slovenian ministries and tourist boards that still do not know how to market Ana Roš, and even more interviews.

Although Roš says she has had to reject more offers than she could accept, she has taken no fewer than 150 flights this year and done a staggering 500 interviews.

Kaja Sajovic
TV & Radio
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