(CNN) – A Michelin guide awarded one of its most prestigious stars to a French vegetarian restaurant for the first time.
ONA, which stands for Origine Non Animale or Non-Animal Origine, was awarded the award in the most recent edition of this long-running cooking guide.
The restaurant, located in the small southwestern village of Arès, near Bordeaux, was the first animal-free establishment to appear in the Michelin Guide to France since its creation in 1900.
It is among 54 restaurants that received their first star in the 2021 update. “The main takeaway meals chosen for 2021 are the continued spread of diverse styles of cuisine throughout France,” Michelin said.
“In Unna … vegetarian cuisine is taking center stage for the first time in a restaurant that wins a star in France.”
Self-taught chef and former archaeologist Claire Valley, ONA boasts a seven-course evening menu priced at € 59 ($ 72). His specialties include yellow zucchini ravioli with black truffle gnocchi and the sound of Swiss chard with vegan ricotta.
Vegan options have grown in popularity.
Valle said she felt emotional when the international director of the Michelin Guide called her on Thursday to let her know that ONA had received the award. “Cooking with my team is like performing in a theater. You really don’t know how it’s received until the end,” she told CNN.
Vallee opened the restaurant in 2016 after crowdfunding and securing a loan from Nef, an Ethical Bank. When the money ran out to complete work at the foundation, Vale said she mobilized 80 volunteers via social media to help finish the job over two months.
“This is a good thing for the vegan community because this star is proof that the French gastronomy is becoming more inclusive. And those vegetarian dishes belong there too,” Valle said.
“The team I work with is really proud. The Michelin star and the green star are an appreciation. It is also for them and the local producers and vegetable growers we work with,” she added.
Valle told CNN that the restaurant had only functioned as a takeaway restaurant during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, and had benefited from state aid.
Plant-only enterprises have become increasingly desirable in recent years, along with the rapidly growing popularity of plant-based diets.