The Michelin Guide has awarded one of its coveted stars to a French vegan restaurant for the first time.
This was announced with a message on Instagram by the founder and head chef, Claire Vallèe, thanking all those, from clients to journalists, who have
contributed to the achievement of this coveted recognition.
Ona, which stands for “Origine Non Animale” or “Non-Animal Origin”, is located in the small southwestern village of Arès, near Bordeaux, and is the first
animal-free restaurant to appear in the Michelin Guide in France since it was created in 1900
This is a good thing for the vegan community as this star is evidence that French gastronomy is becoming more inclusive. Before becoming interested in the world of cuisine, Vallèe was an archaeologist. After a trip to Thailand she decided to change her life by learning the secrets
that today have allowed her to be recognized as one of the most innovative chefs in Europe.
The restaurant’s tasting menu – currently closed due to health restrictions – consists of seven different dishes that include combinations of ingredients such
as fir-tree, boletus mushroom and sake, or celery, tonka and amber ale.
ONA specialities include a yellow zucchini ravioli with black truffle gnocchi, and a Swiss chard ballotine with vegetable ricotta.
The entrepreneur revealed that she had struggled to get funding for her vegan restaurant through traditional banks.
French banks refused the chef start-up capital when she came to them looking for a loan to get started. “They said the outlook for veganism and plant-based
food was too uncertain,” she told AFP. Even the location of the restaurant, located on the Atlantic coast, aroused doubts and concerns.
Vallèe launched her restaurant in 2016 thanks to crowdfunding from supporters and a loan from a green bank. “
“It felt like I got hit by a train,” Vallee said about the moment she received a call from the Guide Michelin on Thursday informing her of its decision. “This star
definitely brings a vegetable-based gastronomy to the elite of French and world cuisine”.
The Michelin guide awarded ONA also a green star, which Michelin introduced last year to reward ethical and sustainable businesses.
This recognition demonstrates that finally vegan cuisine is considered an example of haute cuisine, and we are super happy about that!
Vegan food is also getting a big celebrity push!
Read our article: Famous vegan celebrities: 5 stars you didn’t know were vegan.