ONA, a small restaurant in Arès, a city near Bordeaux, France, has achieved every chef’s dream: it has won a Michelin star. What marks it out from all the other establishments to have won the award is that it is the first vegan restaurant in France to do so. In a nation famed for its love of steak tartare and foie gras, the coveted star is a recognition that vegan food can compete with the very best.

Only time will tell if ONA succeeds in the long term, but its triumph is a boost for plant-based gastronomy everywhere. Veganism has long been one of the most polarising topics in the food world, in particular in wealthy developed nations where diets are often centred on the consumption of meat. There it has struggled to shake off an image of unhealthy self-deprivation. Alternatives to meat-based dishes were often relegated to the far corners of supermarkets...

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