The Michelin Guide was founded in France in the late nineteenth century as a road guide. Since then, it has evolved into a restaurant review guide of arguably the highest renown––you’ve probably heard of it yourself. Today, it ranks restaurants across the globe on a scale of one to three stars (three being the maximum), a system established in 1936, and one that has rated more than 30,000 restaurants in at least 30 different territories.
The Guide clearly know what they’re doing; it has been that way for a long time. But last month, they achieved a historic milestone: the first vegan restaurant in France was awarded a Michelin star.
The restaurant in question is located in Arès, a little-known part of southwestern France. Its founder is a chef by the name of Claire Vallée, who is 41 years old and who worked as an archeologist before he became a vegan after a trip to Thailand. Said Vallée in an Instagram post announcing the win, “This star is mine, it is yours, it is that of the impossible. It brings Vegetable Gastronomy definitively into the closed circle of French and Global Gastronomy.”
Of course, plenty of vegan restaurants in the past have been given one (some two, some three), but this was a big deal nonetheless, because it was the first French restaurant to receive this honor. And why should that matter? Well, the Michelin Guide has French roots; it was in this European country that they erected the makings of what they are today. This is a clear indicator that the world is fast accepting the new culture of veganism, which was greeted with heavy criticism when it first started picking up steam. With the creation of plant-based meat that leading corporations like Beyond Meat have nearly perfected, however, and now that vegan restaurants are being recognized by the Michelin Guide, that has largely changed. Certainly, the world is coming to terms with accepting diversity, even in places seemingly irrelevant as the culinary world.