Ana Roš: The female chef putting Slovenia on the map

Jure Gašperšič  -  March 8, 2017

“Love comes through the stomach.” –Slovenian Proverb

This proverb comes to life for travelers who visit Slovenia and enjoy the delicious traditional Slovenian dishes and incredible Slovenian wines. Travelers can experience the delights of Slovenian cooking, hidden in old recipes, almost anywhere they go in Slovenia, from family inns to restaurants, and at special events called osmice. When you visit Slovenia, you can explore its specialties in 24 different culinary regions with more than 172 national dishes, all influenced by the flavors of the Mediterranean, the Pannonian plain, the Alps, and the Balkans. And the Slovenian dishes’ faithful companions, the excellent Slovenian wines, will satisfy even the most demanding wine connoisseur.

Travel with us to Slovenia and taste the flavors of traditional Slovenian food and wine, and join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of our friend Ana Roš, Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe’s Talent of the Year this year!

About Hiša Franko

Hiša Franko in Kobarid is my all-time favorite restaurant in Slovenia. It is paradise on Earth—the perfect blend of beautiful nature, excellent cuisine, and peace and quiet. I have always known that Hiša Franko’s Ana Roš was a talented chef (and my personal favorite), but now she has been acknowledged for her talent by being honored as the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe talent of the year! The best way for me to honor Slovene cuisine is by highlighting Ana and the amazing, incredible, delicious Hiša Franko.

The Chef

Ana is one of the rising female chefs in the culinary world, but her life could have taken a very different direction if she had stuck to her original career path. Fluent in five languages and with a degree in diplomatic studies, she was set to become a diplomat until she met future husband Valter Kramer. Instead, the couple decided to take over his family’s beautiful guesthouse and restaurant in the Soča valley, close to the border with Italy.

Ana has been the head chef at Hiša Franko for twelve years and was inspired to become a chef because of “life and love,” she says.

The Talent of the Year Award is the biggest recognition given by Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, which can be described as a kind of young Michelin and also best Chef in the world 2017- When I asked her about being honoured with this recognition, Ana said it was unexpected. “I did not even notice my nomination because I was distracted by my work,” says Ana.

The Restaurant + Menu

Like all Slovene cuisine, Ana’s menu is inspired by the ingredients, styles, flavors, and dishes of Italy, Austria, and the Balkan Peninsula. What makes her menu unique is the character she adds to it and the inspiration she draws from the natural world. Her dishes are fun, colorful, and light.

Visit Hiša Franko’s cheese cellar, where Tolmin cheeses are aged for three to four years or slip into the wine cellar and take your pick of Slovene biodynamic wines and hard-to-find labels are that are true jewels. The wines are selected not based on fashions and trends, but on a love for nature and quality.

The Ingredients

Ana’s kitchen is strongly attached to local ingredients, including dairy products, lamb, venison, mushrooms, wild grasses, flowers, herbs, and Soča trout. She says that she is picks her own food that she cooks with. Although she draws on some ingredients like spices which come from other countries around the world, her fresh ingredients are always local. “It is important to use local and organic ingredients in my dishes because this is how we live and what we really believe in at Hiša Franko.”

Since Ana is committed to local ingredients, her menu is always changing, dish by dish. “Almost every day there is something new coming out,” she says. And just like her menu, Ana is always changing. When I asked her what her favorite ingredient is to cook with, she couldn’t decide. “My favorites change every single day. We are just finishing the season of wild morels, ransoms, and wild hops and starting the season of the spring porcini. Asparagus is everywhere right now. Elder blossoms and cherries are just ripening. Later peaches, apricots and plums. Tomatoes and eggplants are their best in summer,” says Ana.

No matter what the season, a trip to Hiša Franko to taste some Slovene cuisine from Ana Roš is a “must” if you’re in Slovenia.

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