This well-travelled chef has no time for preconceptions. By taking wäinzoossiss sausage in mustard sauce, a very traditional dish, and creating something worthy of Italian-American mammas in New York, she gleefully proves there are no limits when it comes to pushing the envelope! And what better pairing than her own wine, a Pinot Gris specially concocted by Marc Desom (Desom cellars and estate in Remich).
To say that Anne Faber gives Luxembourgian cuisine a new lease of life is an understatement. Traditional fare in the Grand Duchy is generally rather stodgy (which is not to say that there aren’t excellent things on offer!) with the main focus on generous, filling portions to be enjoyed in good company. This chef brings out its more discordant and even fun side. “I always try to find a slight twist, an unexpected detail that puts a new spin on familiar flavours,” she explains.
This philosophy is fuelled by a life spent exploring the globe without ever losing touch with her native country. The aim of her travels has always been to discover new cultures through their flavours. Back in her days studying English literature and journalism in London, she was already keeping herself amused by soaking up the British cuisine, which, although not the world’s most prestigious culinary tradition, still has some interesting things to offer if you look out for them, and more importantly, are open to new flavours.
This constant desire to try new things led her to start her own cooking programme aired from her small London kitchen in 2013. In Anne’s Kitchen broadcast on RTL, she irreverently dissects English cooking, playfully drawing parallels with Luxembourgian products and traditions. The programme has proved a hit and drawn praise largely due to its tone and Anne’s personality as a presenter.
For the second series broadcast in 2014, Anne treated herself to a string of European getaways, exploring Barcelona, Istanbul and Berlin. Back in London, she captured the spirit of these cities in her own culinary inventions.
Her return to Luxembourg is the theme for the third series. Having travelled far and wide, she has begun to miss her home country. Her focus has switched to Luxembourg and its cuisine. In the series, she dives back into local culinary traditions without resisting the temptation of giving them the odd tweak. After all, conventional cooking per se is not her bag! While she respects the heritage of old recipes, what she really enjoys doing is adding her own little touches to give it new life.
Anne’s Friday evening show is well-established now, having traced her adventures to such places as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok over the years. Now in isolation like everyone else due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her current programmes offer recipes using only basic ingredients.
Her wäinzoossiss meatball pasta, which she has shared with us, perfectly captures her personality. The recipe is inspired by an American-Italian classic from New York: “meatball pasta or spaghetti with polpette in tomato sauce is iconic over there,” explains Anne Faber. “I wanted to use it as the inspiration for a dish made with Luxembourgian products.”
Expect wäinzoossiss and traditional mustard sauce like you’ve never seen it before! In this recipe, the pork and beef sausage meat is transformed into meatballs, the sauce is poured over the pasta, and hey presto: “the flavours are familiar, but the textures are different.” Here is a quick and easy dish that can be shared without any fuss, giving maximum shared pleasure with minimal effort!
All that remains is to pair it with a suitable bottle of wine. Anne has a few tricks up her sleeve on that front too. “I know Marc (editor’s note: Marc Desom, who runs the cellars and estate of the same name in Remich) very well as we were at high school together. At the Expogast exhibition in 2018, it occurred to us that it would be nice to collaborate, as a good dish should always be paired with a good bottle of wine.”
The idea took hold. Anne’s favourite grape variety is Pinot Gris, which goes perfectly with spicy Thai food of which she is a big fan. But which Pinot Gris to choose? “I wanted a wine that goes perfectly with my food and recipes,” she says. “The best solution was to produce a special blend. This is not something that Marc usually does, but he was very enthusiastic and took the whole thing very seriously!”
The winemaker produced three options for her, which they tasted together. The winner was a Pinot Gris blend, a third of which was matured in French oak barrels. It is a dense, well-constructed wine clearly destined for fine dining. Its body makes it the ideal pairing for this twist on a pasta dish with Luxembourgian sauce.
And the best news is that there are plans to build on this success with a new edition of Anne’s Pinot Gris due to be launched this year.
All Anne Faber’s recipes are available on her blog www.anneskitchen.lu.