Ana Ros could have been a champion skier, dancer or diplomat but, instead, she decided to take over the restaurant of her parents-in-law when they retired. A self-taught chef, her creative review of the classic recipes of the Upper Soca region in Slovenia has won her various awards and great professional visibiity which ended in her being declared the world’s best chef by 50Best in its 2017 edition.
Her cuisine uses everything available from its environment. And the restaurant is a prolongation of the landscape, a magical place in which the rivers carry fish weighing as much as nine kilos, like the one she cooked here today. A little corner where many European borders come together, which she describes as “the most beautiful valley in the world”, with great biodiverstiy and far from anywhere else.
When she started fifteen years ago, her main task was to go door-by-door visiting local producers in search of the top-quality products she needed. And now, so many years later, she is surrounded by products. In her restaurant, they work side-by-side with dairy farmers, fishermen, cattle-breeders, oenologists, etc. Globalisation is an unknown concept at Hisa Franko.
When she was thinking about what to bring to Madrid, they went down to the river, one of the coldest and cleanest in the world, and brought back a marble trout – which they called Marta – belonging to a species that has repopulated the river after having come close to extinction. Sustainability is one of the basic principles of her work.
Her talk turned out to be a masterclass on how to gain maximum benefit from the product, with 9 dishes made from the one trout. She used everything – from the skin (crackling), to the innards (liver and heart), the roe, the eyes (cooked like eggs), the gills (a purée bathed in gooseberry juice), the marrow from the bones for the stuffing, the viscera to make garum, the fins (glazed), the tail and the head.
And each and every one of her dishes makes an outstanding visual impression. Nothing is improvised. Nothing is gratuitous. Essentially they are a lesson in talent, creativity, seasonality and sustainable management of a model of haute cuisine that not only is not aggressive for its privileged natural surroundings but promotes and enhances them.