‘The first vegan restaurant in France to win a Michelin star’

The  Staff Canteen

The Michelin Guide France 2021 awarded a star to vegan restaurant for the first time.

Restaurant ONA in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux, received the accolade five years after opening. Claire Vallée, owner of ONA – which stands for Origine Non Animale – launched the vegan restaurant in 2016 thanks to crowdfunding from supporters and a loan from a green bank.

She said ‘it felt like I got hit by a train’ when she received a call from the Michelin Guide informing her of its decision.

Before being forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions her menu offered seven dishes which included combinations of pine, boletus mushroom and sake, or celery, tonka and amber ale.


A post shared by Claire Vallée (@ona33740)


Talking about finding funds for the niche restaurant she said: “They (the bank) said the outlook for veganism and plant-based food was too uncertain.”

She went on to secure financing through crowdfunding, without the need for collateral, and through La Nef, a bank that specialises in lending to projects it considers ethical.

She admits ‘vegetable-based cooking is difficult and innovative’ but added: “The most important thing is to enjoy doing this.”

Although now considered a pioneer for vegan cuisine in France, Vallée said she simply followed in the footsteps of others, singling out the late Jean-Christian Jury, who ran the Mano Verde restaurant in Berlin.

In addition to Monday’s award of the classic star, Claire also won a green star, which Michelin introduced last year to reward establishments with a strong record for ethical practices.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th January 2021

‘The first vegan restaurant in France to win a Michelin star’