ONA becomes first vegan restaurant to win a Michelin Guide star

WION Web Team
Bordeaux, France Published: Jan 19, 2021, 09.21 AM(IST)

Dishes served by ONA restaurant Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Claire Vallee runs the ONA restaurant in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux, which she launched in 2016 thanks to crowdfunding from supporters and a loan from a green bank

ONA has become the first establishment in France serving only animal-free products to win a Michelin Guide star.

Claire Vallee runs the ONA restaurant in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux, which she launched in 2016 thanks to crowdfunding from supporters and a loan from a green bank.

"It felt like I got hit by a train," Vallee said about the moment she received a call from the Guide Michelin on Thursday informing her of its decision.

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In picture: Claire Vallee, the owner of the ONA restaurant in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux

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

ONA, which stands for "Origine Non Animale" ("Animal-free origin"), is "the first vegan restaurant in France to win a star", a Guide Michelin spokeswoman said.

Vallee offered seven dishes on her gourmet menu before she had to close ONA because of Covid-19 restrictions. Her favourite combinations involve pine, boletus mushroom and sake, or celery, tonka and amber ale.

Traditional French banks gave the young chef short shrift when she came to them looking for a loan to get started.

"They said the outlook for veganism and plant-based food was too uncertain," she said.

allee says she holds no grudge: "Everybody does their job."Confident "that I had a few things going for me", Vallee went on to secure financing through crowdfunding, without the need for collateral, and through Le Nef, a bank that specialises in lending for projects it considers to be ethical.

"This goes to show that nothing is impossible," she said.

Vallee admits to having wondered along the way "whether we were good enough because vegetable-based cooking is difficult and innovative".

But, she added: "The most important thing is to enjoy doing this."

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

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