Michelin star awarded to a vegan restaurant in France for the first time – Totally Vegan Buzz

Michelin star awarded to a vegan restaurant in France for the first time

Michelin star awarded to a vegan restaurant in France for the first time
Image: @ONA / Instagram

Vegan eatery ONA has also been awarded Michelin’s green star – in recognition of its strong ethical practices.

A vegan French restaurant has won a Michelin Guide star, the first for an establishment serving only meat-free products in France.

Claire Vallee runs the ONA restaurant in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux, in south-west France.

In addition to the classic star award, Vallee has also received the green star, which Michelin introduced only last year to reward establishments with a strong record for ethical practices.

A Michelin Guide spokeswoman told AFP: “ONA is the first vegan restaurant to win a star in France.”

ONA

Describing her journey, Valle revealed that although she had a “few things going for me”, she did struggle when she pitched her project to traditional French banks in order to seek a loan to get started.

“They said the outlook for veganism and plant-based food was too uncertain,” she told AFP.

Also, her chosen venue in the Arcachon basin on the Atlantic coast was not considered promising enough.

Despite the odds, Vallee went on to secure financing through crowdfunding, and through Le Nef – a bank that focuses on supporting projects it considers to be ethical.

She launched her restaurant in 2016.

ONA, which stands for “Origine Non Animale” (“Animal-free origin”) offered seven dishes on its gourmet menu before having to close down because of Covid-19 restrictions.

 Valle’s favourite recipes include pine, boletus mushroom, and sake, or celery, tonka, and amber ale.

‘Nothing is impossible’

The young restaurateur is now considered a pioneer for vegan cuisine in France, and Vallee is proud of the accolade “because vegetable-based cooking is difficult and innovative”.

“This goes to show that nothing is impossible,” she says.

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