Claire Vallée
Crédit Photo : Sandra Hygonnenc

ONA, organic and plant-based gastronomy by Claire Vallée

ONA is the first organic and plant-based restaurant to have been awarded by Gault & Millau and the Michelin Guide. In Arès, in the Bassin d’Arcachon, this new gastronomic establishment run by Claire Vallée gives a new dynamic to the region. With these distinctions, plant-based cuisine enters the big league and predicts a certain future in haute cuisine.

Non-Animal Origin

After studying archeology, Claire naturally turned to the catering business, a passion that she has always had and which led her to travel to explore cuisine elsewhere and differently.

It was in Switzerland and then in Thailand that Claire made her first experiences and forged her career as a Chef. Back in France, she finds a place in a classic restaurant in Arès. But while she was already vegan, traditional restaurants no longer suited her. Claire, therefore, left to create her own restaurant which she called ONA, for “Origine Non Animale”.

Gastronomic plant-based fusion cuisine

At ONA, Claire offers gastronomic and plant-based fusion cuisine, with a unique dish of the day for lunch and dinner that changes every day, and a gastronomic formula in the evening that changes every month.

Claire made ONA a natural environment. Above the restaurant, the terrace carries a herbarium of 150 plant references and the establishment’s decoration highlights the noble materials of nature.

As for desserts, Claire offers classic and unstructured pastries. The menu includes lemon pie, cheesecake, or tarragon ice cream.

As for the wines, Claire calls on a local wine merchant who works with small producers. About forty references are thus listed and offered in the restaurant.

An artist’s work

In the kitchen, Claire likes working on textures, visuals and colours. She plays with different cooking styles to create a harmony of tastes. The arrangement of the plate, meanwhile, makes the whole luxurious.

Photo credit: Claire Vallée

Her favourite ingredient is coconut milk, for its creaminess. Of course she works with vegetables, especially the rare ones, but also with herbs and plants. The trompe l’oeil work, which Claire particularly likes, brings a surprising visual and taste.

The aim is to remind people of what they know while breaking the benchmarks, to gradually bring them to see and taste the dishes differently.

A starry future

For her project, Claire received a lot of support and encouragement. But it is thanks to the great guides that ONA has taken a real turn.

When Gault & Millau went to discover the restaurant, it was awarded with the first rating of 11/20 (1 toque) and a second rating the following month of 13/20 (2 toques). Six months after its opening, ONA was already rewarded.

A year later, the Michelin guide awarded it 1 plate and 1 fork, thus bringing ONA’s cuisine to the level of haute gastronomie.

Inspiration for Top Chefs

The Top Chefs from whom Claire is inspired are Alain Passard (Arpège) for the plant-based cuisine, Marc Veyrat (Rural) for herbs, and René Rezepi (Noma) for the local approach and new cuisine.

From these Top Chefs, she would like to learn new working techniques, and everything related to culinary innovation.

Claire wonders what are the barriers that today prevent the Top Chefs from going straight towards plant-based cuisine, even if it means creating another restaurant, just to show all their skills.

Translated by Malvika Kathpal

Learn more :

ONA Restaurant: 3 bis rue Sophie et Paul Wallerstein – 33740 Arès (Bassin d’Arcachon) Opening date: 22 octobre 2016 WebsiteFacebook The 1 plate award was created in 2016 in the Michelin guide to reward good restaurants. The 1 fork attribution corresponds to the standing of the establishment.

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