For the first time in history, French state representatives awarded the title of Maître Restaurateur to a vegan chef. Chef Willy Berton was awarded the prestigious title for his restaurant Vegan Gorilla, where he serves inventive dishes that change weekly—such as open-faced sandwiches (tartines) with vegan “fauxmage” cheese and chia-based “chiaviar” (or vegan caviar), fishless fishermen’s stew, mushroom-based kefta over couscous, and strawberry cheesecake. Berton launched the 30-seater restaurant with his wife Camille—a pastry chef who has been vegan for three years—in an effort to bring healthy, organic food to the region without harming animals. The Maître Restaurateur title was created in 2007, and qualifying chefs must base their menus around fresh, organic, and sustainable produce. Berton will hold the title of Maître Restaurateur for the next four years.
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