Vegan restaurant awarded Michelin star for the first time in France

Natasha Preskey
·1 min read
 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A Michelin star has been awarded to a vegan restaurant for the first time ever in France.

ONA (which stands for Origine Non Animale), is in the French city of Ares and serves plant-based dishes from a seven-dish gourmet menu which changes every month.

Restaurant owner Claire Vallée urged customers to "follow your dreams" after winning the star on Tuesday.

As well as the coveted Michelin star, ONA was also awarded a green star by the Michelin Guide. This accolade was only introduced in December 2020 and is used to mark out restaurants with excellent sustainability practices.

“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.

In an emotional post to the restaurant's 7,900 fans on Facebook, Vallée thanked her customers for believing in her, telling them "you carried me".

Vallée launched ONA in 2016 using funds generated through crowdfunding and a loan from a green bank after she says many French banks were reluctant to lend to the restaurant owner.

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

However, she didn’t appear bitter about the decision, adding: “Everybody does their job.”

All restaurants in France are currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions but ONA’s most recent menu offered combinations including paimpol beans, calamansi and batak berry, and dulse, lemongrass and galangal.

Writing on Facebook, Vallée said: "We will continue on this path because this star is mine, it's yours, it's the one of the impossible, it's the one that brings the Vegetable Gastronomy into the closed circle of French and World Food."

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