The crowdfunded ONA is overturning stereotypes about what this famously gourmet country likes to eat.
For the first time ever, a vegan restaurant in France has been awarded a coveted Michelin star.
The French edition of the Michelin guide, published Monday, awarded a star to ONA. The name stands for Origine Non-Animale, or animal-free origin, BBC News reported.
The Michelin verdict: “more than a restaurant, it’s a way of life. The beautifully dressed plates feature a splendid array of fruit and vegetables. Greatly deserving of the attention it is garnering.”
The restaurant is located in Arès, near Bordeaux in southwestern France, and was started by chef Claire Vallée, a 41-year-old former archeologist who became a vegan after a trip to Thailand.
Restaurant owner Claire Vallée urged customers to “follow your dreams” after winning the star on Tuesday.
“It felt like I got hit by a train,” the restaurant owner told AFP of the moment the Michelin Guide called her with the good news.
ONA opened its doors in 2016. The restaurant offers a seven-dish gourmet menu that uses ingredients such as fir-tree, boletus mushrooms, and celery. The restaurant was launched by La Nef, a green bank that finances ethical projects.
However, it is currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Other specialties on the seven-course evening menu priced at 59 euros include a yellow zucchini ravioli with black truffle gnocchi and a Swiss chard ballotine with vegetable ricotta.
“This is a good thing for the vegan community as this star is evidence that French gastronomy is becoming more inclusive. That plant-based dishes belong there too,” said Vallee.