KOBARID: Ana Ros, chef of Hisa Franko in Kobarid was one of the first to take the risk of opening the booking system for her restaurant in Slovenia as from 1 June despite not knowing whether this would be possible or not.
And customers responded. She has an almost fully booked restaurant despite the fact that they don’t know whether the restaurant can reopen or not or whether customer can fly in to Slovenia or not.
But like many others around the world, she is now calling for some clarity as to the future. “We are not being given any information, we do not know anything regarding opening dates or plans. There is no transparency with regard to decisions,” she said on Instagram.
After saying that “it was time to start singing ‘Bella ciao’ and fight for our rights and our businesses,” she had to take to Instagram again to clarify that it was sad that people misunderstood her post.
“My post was not political. The post from yesterday is a wake-up call to all people who work in the hospitality business. We are not given enough information. We should stick together and speak out our fears and our needs. How many of you have lost their job because of it? How many of you fought for every single person in his team and face the poverty of tomorrow. Why is everybody silent?” Ana asked.
“Hisa Franko is almost full in June. There are reservations from around the world. People are counting the days to come and my team is looking forward to start working. Every single member of my team is part of my family. But when I turn around I see nothing. I cannot promise them a job or a table tomorrow. So I scream. Say something for God’s sake,” she said.
The Slovenian chef has taken the role of a ‘mother figure’ for members of her staff who have stayed at the restaurant after the lockdown was announced in March. Her region borders Italy and when the border with Italy was closed there was huge panic. Most of her international team were stuck in Kobarid and the number is nearly the same as when the restaurant was open.
For the past weeks, Ana Ros has been speaking in interviews about how her region has been spared of the virus but also how she has had to deal with the crisis.
“There are days when we are up, there are days when we are crying and depressed,” she said.
Despite the restaurant being closed, the team have continued to work five days a week. They forage, they have online courses twice a week. Ana said that during such a period, deepening knowledge in a subject matter was something that was really important.
COVID-19 led to a crisis in her area. While the restaurant was closed, producers in the region were faced with endless supplies that could not be sold. People shifted from fresh milk to long-life milk in isolation so what Ana and her team have done is to use the produce around to try and transform it and deliver it to people’s homes.
They’ve made sun dried plum and nettle crackers, a wild watercress dip sauce, different pesto sauces and also ice-cream made by her team. She is not just trying to keep her team busy, she is also working to keep the business afloat.