Plant-based cuisine is making its way to the highest levels of cuisine: Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier made the rare gesture of switching his London restaurant Gauthier Soho to an all-plant menu, explaining that he wanted to change the offers and spent many years working to perfect the brewery’s new menu.
“There is no animal product in the restaurant, not even in the chef’s pocket,” Gauthier told Big Hospitality. “I myself am a vegan; it would be unethical for me to profit from the sale of dead animals.
The French chef has changed the gastronomic experience of his restaurant to leave behind traditional animal-based dishes despite the enormous reluctance of customers. Gauthier was concerned about customer feedback, but decided it would be best to launch his vegan menu regardless of consumer opinion.
“It was a big problem. I was aware that I was going to have to fight; I understand that people feel disappointed, ”he said. “But I’m like ‘trust me, what we cook is that good.’ Some people are ready to do it and some are not.
Before the change, the brasserie offered traditional French cuisine that used large amounts of butter, milk and meat. Once Gauthier moved away from animal products himself, he found it necessary to make this decision in his career. The evening tasting menu will offer experimental herbal cuisine adapted to the gastronomic experience. This decision marks an important change in the perception of gastronomy, especially on the part of a chef known for his use of conventional animal products.
“We’ve been working on this for a number of years and for at least five years, all the most creative efforts have been put into vegan dishes,” he continued. “Now there are no animal products in the dishes, and I myself am a vegan.”
The brasserie’s menu change follows the opening of Gauthier’s new vegan cafe at Fenwick’s Mayfair named 123 Vegan. The casual restaurant serves vegan burgers, salads, and croissants, providing consumers with a much more accessible entry point for plant-based diets. The menu consists of a California cheeseburger with a Beyond Meat patty, a bowl of red yuzu with watermelon sashimi and a dark chocolate cake. From Gauthier’s dedication to plant-based cuisine, the French chef will continue to redefine French food no matter the criticism.
Earlier this year, Origine Non-Animale (ONA) became the first fully vegan restaurant in France to receive the prestigious Michelin star. Founder and chef Claire Vallée’s commitment to avant-garde dishes has changed the French gastronomic scene. The growing acceptance and willingness to experiment with vegan cuisine is more and more prevalent, and with chefs like Vallée and Gauthier, it is likely that more and more chefs are turning to plant-based cuisine.