High end vegan dining has been in the spotlight recently, as ONA (Origine Non-Animale, or ‘animal-free origin’), became the first plant based restaurant in France to earn a Michelin star.
The restaurant is run by Claire Vallée who became vegan after a trip to Thailand, and whose website says will ‘take the time to satisfy you, not only visually, but also with regards to smell and taste, thanks to a cuisine that is fresh, seasonal, organised and passionate!’ But with only two menu options, either three dishes for €24, around £21, or seven dishes for €59, this is clearly not your everyday meal.
Dishes of Jerusalem artichokes and leeks with white Alba truffles, and has a seven-course menu at £99 per person
Within the 2020 Michelin Guide Beijing just two restaurants were awarded 2-stars, one of which was the plant-based King’s Joy, with prices starting just short of £80 a head. A little closer to home, the three starred ‘Texture Restaurant’ in London, includes dishes of Jerusalem artichokes and leeks with white Alba truffles, and has a seven-course menu at £99 per person.
It’s not just new vegan restaurants popping up, but already well-established places becoming vegan. The three-Michelin-starred restaurant ‘Atelier Crenn’, that opened in San Francisco in 2011, announced it was to remove all animal products in November 2019.
Their recipes were long and require lots of soaking, sautéing, chopping and chilling – not something that everyone can afford time or money wise.
The vegan community has spent more recent years trying to prove itself as accessible to all. When veganism first came onto the scene, the most popular bloggers were using organic puy lentils and micro herbs, often only available at specialist health stores. Their recipes were long and require lots of soaking, sautéing, chopping and chilling – not something that everyone can afford time or money wise.
However, with veganism becoming more mainstream, supermarkets have been bringing out more of their own meat free products, as well as rebranding ‘accidentally vegan’ products like onion rings and chips with the vegan sign, to remind customers how ‘ordinary’ food is often plant based already.
For the sake of the animals, the environment, and our health, I really hope not
With these new lavish and high-end restaurants popping up, are we returning to the early days of the stereotyped middle class matcha latte drinking vegan? For the sake of the animals, the environment, and our health, I really hope not.
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