Vegan restaurant ONA is the first vegan restaurant in France to win a prestigious Michelin star. The Arès-based restaurant, which was crowdfunded for its launch in 2016, also won a green star for its ethical and sustainable practices.
Proving that vegan cuisine can be every bit as flavoursome and spectacular as non-vegan dishes, a vegan restaurant in France has just been awarded a prestigious Michelin star.
Vegan restaurant ONA, which stands for Origine Non Animale, launched in 2016 and has just become the first vegan restaurant in France to be honoured in the guide.
Michelin stars are awarded to restaurants based on a restaurant rating system from the famed Michelin Guide that signifies that the restaurant is of high quality.
As well as receiving a classic star in the 2021 Guide, ONA has also won a green star which is given to establishments who are dedicated to operating ethically and sustainably.
Announcing the award, the Micheline Guide wrote that “vegan cuisine takes center stage for the first time in a restaurant to win a Star in France.”
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Chef Claire Vallée, who runs the restaurant in the city of Arès, described the moment she heard the news as feeling like she had been “hit by a train.”
The self-taught chef and former archaeologist went vegan after a trip to Thailand and decided to open the vegan restaurant in 2016.
She initially struggled to get funding through traditional banks and told news outlet AFP that according to them, “the future for veganism and plant-based food was too uncertain.”
Determined to achieve her dream of opening a plant-based restaurant in France, Vallée, turned to crowdfunding and secured a loan from a bank which specialises in ethical loans..
Using fresh ingredients in inventive ways to create beautiful, brightly coloured dishes that celebrate vegetables, Vallée uses an array of ingredients such as fir-tree, boletus mushroom and sake, or celery, tonka and amber ale to create ONA’s menu.
Despite the success of the restaurant, Vallée has admitted that in the past she questioned: “whether we were good enough because vegetable-based cooking is difficult and innovative.”
With a shiny new Michelin star, Vallée need not worry as hungry diners will be flocking to try the gourmet vegan menu when the vegan restaurant reopens its doors.
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