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April 15, 2024

Chef Ana Ros: Foraging has always been a part of our culture!

Chef Ana Roš is a not a stranger to the hospitality world by any stretch of the imagination. A former diplomat, self-taught chef from Slovenia, she is at the helm of the Three Michelin-starred restaurant Hisa Franko in Slovenia, which has been in the Michelin guide since 2020, as well as in the list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2017, where Ana Roš was recognised as the World’s Best Female Chef. Some recognise her from the critically-acclaimed show on Netflix Chef’s Table where she shared a part of her journey. Last year, the Michelin guide awarded Hisa Franko with the Green Star in addition to the three stars, in recognition of the restaurant and her efforts towards sustainability. Chef Ana Ros flew down to India for her very first pop-up at Taj Mahal New Delhi, and Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai in collaboration with Conosh, a food platform dedicated to connoisseurs, who has previously flown the Master Chef Australia trio George, Gary and Matt for a pop-up in India. Chef Ana Roš’ menu was also similarly, experienced by a select group for the first time in the country, and it gave us a chance to interact with her. Excerpts:

Vaibhav Behl, CEO of Conosh with Chef Ana Ros

Tell us about your approach to sustainability that got you a green star in the Michelin Guide.

A good question is — what is sustainability in the food world? It includes, work, in your micro-local environment and of course, if you’re in a countryside hand in hand with nature, with, seasonality, taking care of the food waste, and taking care the way you, you dress your your personnel. Currently, the front of the house is wearing sustainable uniforms made out of recycled materials and, food-based, recyclables, like our uniform, wood fibers, apple fibers, coffee ground fibers with natural prints. Also for the kitchen, we are planning to make sure to get some sustainable uniforms which are very comfortable, by the way.

And, there is like, the whole, recycled program that is possible between, the food and beverage section through fermentation is preparing drinks. So, a lot that can be done in a small restaurant, to showcase, the way to preserve the planet.

You mentioned you have a forager. Tell us how your restaurant is different in other ways.

Hiša Franko is in the countryside and foraging has always been a part of our culture, as well as having gardens. A lot of restaurants in the countryside do foraging and have gardens. Hiša Franko is not just an example of it, but maybe one of the beginners. But through the forager, and it’s not just one, we actually discover every day new plants that are very useful, that are very flavorful. And then it’s on us to decide, of course, what will happen with them.

 

What made you switch from a career as a diplomat to a chef?

Well, it’s a well-known story. It has been a life decision where I needed to, decide over the rational or emotional Ana.

I decided to follow the emotional one. So I stayed in the Soča Valley and started working in hospitality, where my diplomatic talents, of course, were shining.

 

What does it take to establish a restaurant that gets featured in the Michelin Guide, according to you?

It’s about the focus. It’s about, discipline, motivation, high criteria, consistency!

 

Is it always convenient to have a sustainable approach to cooking, or does it take extra effort?

Well, it takes an extra effort, but, I’m pretty sure that at the end of the day, we are already paid by doing this effort.

 

And what is next for Ana Roš in the realm of cooking?

Well, we have just opened a young dining concept in the heart of Ljubljana.

The name of the place is Jaz by Ana Roš and the bakery.

So now it’s time to consolidate all the projects and then start dreaming on.

 

You have famously said, friends once escaped your cooking. Is cooking a skill that anyone can pick up?

Well, The story was about my schoolmates, during the first years in university when I actually didn’t take time and not put love into cooking because, I didn’t have, like, a history of cooking, because being a very active child, especially because of sports, I didn’t have time to cook with my parents.

But on the other side, I believe cooking, is a great test for your patience, It is a test for your love because there is a lot of love and passion that we put into food, especially good food at home or in the restaurant. And yes, I think everybody can cook! It’s just a question of laziness.

Payel Majumdar Upreti

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