‘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.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th January 2021

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