Michelin-star chef turns Soho restaurant vegan despite losing customers

Read Time:   |  16th April 2021

Michelin-star French chef Alexis Gauthier has turned his restaurant in Soho 100% vegan, despite the threat of losing regular customers.

Alexis Gauthier, a Michelin-star French chef, has turned his Soho brasserie Gauthier 100% vegan, making a significant change from the traditional French cuisine it served.

Gauthier previously cooked in the traditional French style – i.e lots of butter, milk, and meat. However, since going plant-based himself, he has decided to transform his restaurant accordingly.

The restaurant had previously come under fire for serving foie gras, the cruel process involving force-feeding ducks to fatten them up. In fact, animal activist group PETA protested outside his restaurant until he stopped selling the dish, and replaced it with a plant-based version made from lentils and walnuts.

Since then, the chef had been experimenting with vegan dishes at the restaurant, and it led him towards choosing the lifestyle himself.

“We have been working towards it for a number of years and for the last five years at least, all the most creative effort has gone into the vegan dishes. Now, there is no animal product in the dishes whatsoever, and I am vegan myself. It would be unethical for me to profit from selling dead animals.”  He explained.

Now, the chef serves up an evening tasting menu made completely from plants, with dishes such as Summer Truffle Tortellini, Harissa Cauliflower, and a Very Dark Chocolate Tart.

‘I had a fight on my hands’

While the new 100% vegan menu will surely attract new punters, Gauthier has admitted that he is expecting to lose loyal customers.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Gauthier explained: “It’s been a big problem, I was aware that I had a fight on my hands, especially as many customers have been eating my food since I was at Roussillon. I understand people feel let down.

“No one says I don’t agree with you, they respect it but – equally – they want to eat meat and fish when they go out. I get that, but I say, trust me, what we cook is as good as that. Some people are up for it and some aren’t.

“It’s hard to replicate the skin of a roast chicken or the depth of flavour of a lobster, but we have to try.”

A new vegan café

Moreover, Gauthier has opened a new vegan café in Fenwick’s Mayfair called 123 Vegan, offering up vegan burgers, croissants and salads to shoppers.

One menu item that has caught our attention is the Red Yuzu Bowl featuring watermelon sashimi, pineapple, wakame seaweed, spring onion, edamame, crispy shallots, yuzu sauce and sushi rice. What a dish!

Other highlights include the California Cheeseburger made with a Beyond Meat patty, vegan cheese, special sauce and all the trimmings, and the Dark Chocolate ‘Vemesis’ Cake featuring a dark chocolate fondant sponge and sour plant cream.

We love the new interesting menu items that challenge the perception of vegan food, and we can’t wait to try them! 

Spoilt for choice choosing somewhere to eat in London?
Here are the 25 Best Vegan Restaurants in London 2021 to make things easier.

Featured image credit: @GauthierSoho/Twitter

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