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Vegan Restaurant ONA Gets Michelin Star in France, a First

ONA was also among 33 restaurants around the country to receive a green star, a new category created by the Michelin Guide last year that rewards restaurants that are “committed to advocating a virtuous, sustainable approach to gastronomy.” Mr. Poullenec said inspectors looked for restaurants that work with local producers, grow their own fruit and vegetables or limit the amount of waste produced in the kitchen.

To the despair of chefs around France, restaurants remained empty for most of 2020 because of the pandemic.

They were forced to close a first time in the spring, when the authorities imposed a strict nationwide lockdown. After a brief summer reopening, restaurants, cafes and bars were shuttered again in November — and will remain so until February at the earliest.

But the Michelin, unlike other culinary guides, has continued to hand out its coveted one, two and three stars, which can vault a restaurant out of obscurity but also put immense psychological or financial pressure on chefs to maintain their rating.

No three-star restaurants were demoted in the guide’s 2021 edition, which was presented on Monday at a ceremony at the Jules Vernes, a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, with only a few chefs in attendance. The event was livestreamed on social media. Only one restaurant, run by the chef Alexandre Mazzia in Marseille, was promoted to three stars this year.

Ms. Vallée, who is originally from the eastern city of Nancy, is an archaeologist by training who fell in love with cooking after she took a summer job in Switzerland. She decided to hone her skills over several years, including one in Thailand, where she discovered the potential of a tasty cuisine focused on plants, spices, vegetables and herbs.

But in 2016, when she pitched her project for a vegan restaurant upon returning to France, traditional banks saw little potential.

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