Plant-based cuisine is making its way into the highest levels of cooking: Michelin-star Chef Alexis Gauthier made the rare move to transition his London restaurant Gauthier Soho to a fully plant-based menu, explaining that he’s wanted to change the offerings and spent many years working to perfect the new menu for the brasserie.

“There are no animal products in the restaurant whatsoever, not even in the chef’s pocket,” Gauthier told Big Hospitality. “I’m vegan myself; it would be unethical for me to profit from selling dead animals.”

The French chef altered his restaurant’s fine dining experience to leave behind traditional animal-based dishes despite huge customer pushback. Gauthier worried about customer reactions but decided that it would be best to debut his vegan menu regardless of consumer opinion.

“It's been a big problem. I was aware I’d have a fight on my hands; I understand people feel let down,” he said. "But I say ‘trust me, what we’re cooking is as good as that.’ Some people are up for it and some aren’t.”

Before the change, the brasserie featured traditional French cuisine that used heavy amounts of butter, milk, and meat. Once Gauthier stepped away from animal products himself, he felt it necessary to address that decision in his career. The evening tasting menu will feature experimental plant-based cuisine fit for the fine dining experience. The decision marks a significant change in how fine dining is viewed, especially from a chef known for his usage of conventional animal products.

“We have been working towards it for a number of years and for the last five years at least, all the most creative effort has gone into the vegan dishes,” he continued. “Now there is no animal product in the dishes whatsoever, and I am vegan myself.”

The brasserie’s menu change follows the opening of Gauthier’s new vegan cafe in Fenwick’s Mayfair named 123 Vegan. The casual eatery serves vegan burgers, salads, and croissants, giving consumers a far more accessible entry point for plant-based eating. The menu consists of a California Cheeseburger with a Beyond Meat patty, Red Yuzu Bowl with watermelon sashimi, and a Dark Chocolate Cake. From Gauthier’s dedication to plant-based cuisine, the French chef will continue to redefine French foods no matter the criticism.

Earlier this year, Origine Non-Animale (ONA) became the first all-vegan restaurant in France to receive the prestigious Michelin Star. Founder and head chef Claire Vallee’s commitment to plant-forward dishes changed the French fine dining scene. The increasing acceptance and willingness to experiment with vegan cuisine is becoming prevalent, and with chefs like Vallee and Gauthier, it’s likely to see more chefs leaning into plant-forward cuisine.


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