Ana Ros and Caterina Ceraudo: frontier-chefs

Identità New York opens with a great journey from Slovenia to Calabria. With two chefs that overcome all stereotypes

11-10-2017

Ana Ros from Hisa Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia) and Caterina Ceraudo from Dattilo, near Crotone. They opened the 8th edition of Identità New York at Eataly Flatiron (photo Brambilla/Serrani)

«I’m proud to open the 8th edition of Identità New York with Ana Ros and Caterina Ceraudo», says Paolo Marchi from the microphone of Eataly Flatiron’s Scuola, crowded as usual.  «In Italy, and not only in Italy, you will mostly find men in the kitchen of prominent restaurants. If there’s a woman, she’s usually the wife or daughter of someone else. Ana and Caterina come from two areas that are not on the usual tourist routes and this is another reason to praise them».

«Ana Ros, how does it feel, being the best female chef in the world?», asks the presenter of the day, journalist Vince Gerasole from Chicago. «To those who ask me if it’s not discriminatory to be the best female chef I say absolutely not. For 3 reasons. First: who wouldn’t like being the best (male or female) in any category or profession? Second, I live in a very small country, Slovenia, so I share this honour with my people. Third, many people I admire voted for me, colleagues and professionals in our industry: many, the day after the award at the 50Best, wrote saying ‘I voted for you!’ and it gave me huge pleasure».

The dish presented is Mountain rabbit 2.0 on holiday in Mexico, the evolution of The rabbit that wanted to be a Mexican chicken, already in the menu in Kobarid. Like it’s ancestor, this also is full of the sense of travelling: «Travelling is everything to me», the chef from Hisa Franko repeated again and again during her impeccable speech. And this had to be the case in a country crossed by Austrian, German, Italian, Middle-European, Balkan influences. «We’ve had many rulers, we have absorbed all sorts of influences. And we have the Alps at the back, and the Mediterranean Sea in front. It’s a huge melting pot».

The Rabbit that goes on holiday in Mexico, Ana Ros​

The Rabbit that goes on holiday in Mexico, Ana Ros​

The rabbit starts from the mountains and arrives in Mexico but this story starts as a zero km recipe. «I remember when you, Zanatta, visited us 10 years ago and said Slovenia was not an El Dorado of products. A decade later I’m happy to point out that we work with 100 producers. Many of them didn’t even know they had extraordinary products». I recently visited them again and totally agree. Plus, Ana recalls, Hisa Franko has acquired a great economic and social importance.

Can’t wait to taste the rabbit. The leporidae went to Mexico «because we break its carcasses in mole, typical of the country, to which we add chocolate». But the spices used to enrich it, are a heritage of Slovenia too: «We’ve always been on the way between Venice and Vienna. Star anise, cinnamon and green cardamom belong to us as well. Plus we add some magnificent hazelnuts from Livek».

And then, roasted red peppers, caramelised and pickled in water, honey and red vinegar. Brown beans, crispy because they are half cooked and enriched with some more spices. Powdered lovage. Parsley roots and carrots baked with a little olive oil. And black garlic in two textures: soft and grated on top.

The dish is served in a bowl with a spoon, «Because we’re a country of poor traditions, of stews and goulash». Slovenian mole charms with its delicate intertwined sweetness, spiciness and a touch of bitterness. The rabbit, a weak meat by tradition, acquires personality and doesn’t fly to Mexico, but to heaven.

«Caterina Ceraudo is one of the few Italian female chefs who’s also an oenologist», says Vince when presenting the second speaker, another “Best Female Chef”, this time according to the Guida Michelin Italia 2017.

Lemon and fennel sorbet, Ceraudo

Lemon and fennel sorbet, Ceraudo

«I work here», says the chef from Dattilo, Crotone, and points at the Ionian coast of Calabria, on the map of Italy at the Scuola, «Like Ana, we’re also between sea and mountains, and have very fresh products all year round. I’m the chef at the family restaurant since 2013. My father Roberto is a pioneer in organic agriculture in Calabria. Wine, oil and restaurant are based on this very important philosophy».

The dish. «I managed to bring from Italy 5 types of basil that my dad agreed to plant in the vegetable garden. There’s citrusy Greek basil, mint basil, lemon basil, Neapolitan basil, with large leaves, and classic small-leaved basil. I use them with Fusilloni Felicetti with aromatic herbs: one species only, with different concentrations of flavours».

Le lesson gets technical. The basil pesto is put first in boiling water then in water and ice: «This way we fix chlorophyll and aromas». «We make the fusilli so the starch becomes a gel, and the pasta is easier to digest». Then she continues «Retrograding starch is a trick that allows us to make pasta salad even with overcooked pasta».

Then come the anchovies, roasted with their bones and powdered with the Pacojet. «I love using each ingredient as a whole: by burning the woody part of the basil, I make basil oil». The cooking of the pasta is completed in water with lemon and chilli pepper. The only fat comes from the almonds.

Caterina ends the lesson with a lovely sorbet with lemon and vacuum cooked fennel, a break she serves at Dattilo’s, not before the dessert, but between fish and meat. And she states a final clear idea in just a few simple words: «My Calabria is much more than chilli pepper and bergamot». And this is only the beginning.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Fusilloni with pesto of 5 types of basil, powdered anchovies and almonds, Caterina Ceraudo​

Fusilloni with pesto of 5 types of basil, powdered anchovies and almonds, Caterina Ceraudo​


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