A vegan restaurant in Ares, near Bordeaux, has become the first animal-free restaurant in France to be included in the country’s Michelin guide.
ONA – an acronym for Origine Non Animale ("animal-free origin") – picked up a star in the 2021 guide, with owner Claire Vallee telling French news agency AFP she “felt like I got hit by a train” when she heard the news.
Besides the traditional star, ONA was also awarded a green star, which signifies its commitment to ethical practices.
The move is a significant in France, where the guide has traditional shunned less traditional establishments – especially those not serving meat, a backbone of classic French cooking.
Though currently closed owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the AFP reports Vallee’s two favourite combinations involve pine, boletus mushroom and sake, or celery, tonka and amber ale.
"This goes to show that nothing is impossible," Vallee said, who added that since opening in 2016 with the help of crowdfunding a loan from a green bank, she had wondered "whether we were good enough, because vegetable-based cooking is difficult and innovative".
The awards for the UK take place next next Monday January 25, at 6pm. The guide’s decision to publish this year is not without controversy, with some wondering how Michelin can accurately update its guide, given restaurants have been shut for so long, limiting the time for inspectors to visit.