Once again, the magazine 50 Best Restaurants has compiled its list of the world’s best female chefs. Last year, the World’s Best Female Chef award went to Frenchwoman Dominique Crenn, known for running the restaurants Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn in San Francisco (US). This year the award went to Slovenian Ana Roš, chef of the restaurant Hiša Franko in Kobarid, Slovenia, for the first time.
The awards ceremony will coincide with that of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which will take place in Melbourne, Australia on the 5th of April. For Roš, this award was a complete surprise: “receiving this award is a great responsibility, especially as a self-taught chef, but the acknowledgement is a great opportunity for people to once again consider Slovenia as an interesting culinary destination”.
Ana Roš did not always work in the kitchen, she was previously a skiing champion! She switched to cooking when she starting running a family restaurant with her sommelier husband in the year 2000. She did so without having any previous cooking experience and is still there, in a historical house that dates back to 1860, close to the border between Italy and Slovenia. In this restaurant, she showcases the heritage and typical ingredients of Slovenia in a menu that varies from season to season, but which is always highly sophisticated.
With a “zero food miles” approach, Roš’ discovery of the Jerusalem artichoke as a great ingredient for her dishes made the entire population around the restaurant adopt this previously overlooked product and include it in their diet.
Despite the fact that there are no Michelin Stars in Slovenia and the country is overshadowed by the success of its neighbours (especially Italy and Austria), Roš has put Hiša Franko on the international map and has turned a cosy family restaurant into an idyllic rural environment and an international enclave that attracts customers from all over the world.