In 2011, Antonia travelled to Venice to work at the Michelin-starred Il Ridotto, which specialised in seafood and Venetian cuisine. A few months after arriving in the city, she decided to start devising ideas for a new restaurant, until she received a job offer to work at the Venissa on Mazzorbo, a Venetian island. ‘I couldn’t say no,’ she says. ‘I fell in love with the place and it was a huge opportunity that helped my career.’ After working at Venissa for three years, Antonia and Romano decided to open their own restaurant for the second time. In December 2014, L’Argine a Vencó opened for service north of Venice in Dolegna del Collio, near the Slovenian border. Surrounded by vineyards, the small farmhouse restaurant has already won a Michelin star and makes the most of the fresh produce and herbs Antonia fell in love with when tending to her vegetable garden. Being based on the Italian-Slovenian border means her cuisine celebrates diversity, and plays with unusual flavour combinations to create dishes like no other.
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‘I come from a place where there is a mix of cultures and influences,’ she says. ‘I am part-Serbian, partAustrian and my grandfather spoke four different languages. Being based on the border means I can cook traditional food in a non-traditional way.’ Much of Antonia’s food and the way she pairs flavours together is down to her admiration for chefs such as Ferran Adrià, Massimiliano Alajmo and Pier Giorgio Parini. ‘I think they’re geniuses,’ she says. ‘They showed us a new way or working. I think Pier Giorgio is the best chef of our generation – every time I cook with him I feel I am always one step behind.’ Her cuisine has been always strictly connected with the territory where she works. Distinctive quality raw materials of the area where she works are her primary source of inspiration. She loves to use them in her cuisine, understanding their role in the history, with the goal of enhancing them in a new creative way.