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It’s the first time it’s ever happened. Plant-based chef, Willy Berton, has won the title of ‘maître restaurateur’, for his restaurant Vegan Gorilla in France.

The restaurant is based in Nice and is described as ‘vegan, bio and gluten-free’. Dishes include fishless, fishermen’s stew, mushroom-based kefta over couscous, and strawberry cheesecake – as well as more traditional French-style meals like ‘fauxmage’ (vegan cheese) tartines.

The title ‘maître restaurateur’, is awarded in exceptional circumstances. The chef must work with fresh, raw produce and the award is judged by an independent committee, which is then awarded by local representatives (on behalf of the French state).

In a post on Facebook Berton’s wife said: “In recent weeks, we waited with (a bit) of stress for the inspector who was to come and judge us – and with a lot of stress for the result!

“So we are absolutely delighted (and honored and very proud) to announce that my dear and loving husband has earned the title of maître.”

“For those who do not know, this title rewards consistency, presentation and the use of local, fresh and homemade products. So you have a guarantee that no frozen or prepared foods are used – everything is homemade.”

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