Ana Roš has always been one of my favourite chefs. I know her since her cooking beginnings and am rejoicing looking at her development through the years. She has always been special – as a person and as a chef. Her dishes have always been intense and full of energy. Now, reaching her maturity as a chef (still being a young lady) her dishes are better than ever and if you ever get a chance to try her cooking, don’t let this experience to pass you by. If you can, visit her at Hisa Franko. But not because her cooking would be worse elsewhere: she is one of those chefs who will do a perfect dish also outside her own kitchen (I experienced her as a guest chef in different locations, also at the events which I organised in the past in Italy where she cooked for a big crowd and never failed even in the smallest detail – her cooking is secure and great wherever she cooks) but you should visit her in Kobarid to enjoy the full experience – to get to know her wonderful terroir (it is magical, believe me!), to enjoy the stunning view from the seatings outside (yes, go in summer if you can!), to visit with Valter their wine cellar and taste their home matured cheeses. You need to touch her roots! But yes, as long as you can’t make it to Kobarid, jump on any occasion which gives you a chance to try her cooking. It is so deep and intense in its deliciousness that you may carry the flavours with you in your memory for a very long time. Until you visit her again.
This month Ana had two stunts in London: she cooked at the Taste Residency and at Chefstock with Alyn Williams at the Westbury. I visited the last one.
It is Ana’s merit that many years ago I discovered that every (even the less inviting) ingredient can be transformed into a super delicious dish in the hands of a great chef. There were some ingredients that I didn’t like so much in the far past (beef tongue, tripe and beetroot for example) due to my previous bad experiences. When I ate them prepared by Ana, I loved them and enjoyed every single bite and from that moment on I developed an absolute openness for any ingredient you can imagine. My experiences from the world of food taught me that quite many people don’t feel comfortable with certain ingredients so Ana’s choice to use them for the dinner at Alyn Williams shows her great confidence in her own cooking which definitely never fails. The beef tongue umami was mesmerizing – the beautifully soft tongue with delightful explosion of umami flavours was the favourite at our table, my personal favourite instead was tripe cooked in wild duck jus/cave cheese/morels & fava beans – the flavours were so intense and contained a wealth of delicious textures to enjoy.
Alyn Williams seemed to enjoy Ana’s challenge and created dishes which were beautifully communicating with Ana’s. Alyn is a great chef with high level of technical perfection and a good palate. I specially like his vegetable dishes – he shows the best of his creativity and sensibility in those. I am tempted to go once for a completely vegetarian experience at his place even if I am not vegetarian. Alyn’s slow cooked Tamarillo/tomato/toasted nori/Sairass ricotta dish this evening was for me one of the highlights of the dinner – full of intensive freshness and beautiful aromas.
The desserts were all Alyn’s. Ana is not a dessert lover. She grew up in a family that didn’t appreciate sweets, so she always focused more on savoury dishes. But she does desserts and I find them deeply fascinating – they are much more creative in usage of ingredients and never very sweet. Well, this time she completely avoided them, so we were pampered with some delicious Alyn’s creations.
This dinner is behind us. Let’s plan a visit in Kobarid at Hisa Franko? And the vegetarian tasting menu by Alyn Williams right after that. Or before. Doesn’t really matter – this dinner reminded me I want more of both.