CLAIRES JOURNEY

For as long as I can remember, food has always had an important place in my heart and my life. As a child I loved cooking, the wonderful aromas and flavours when I tasted dishes. My childhood was the taste of vegetable bulghour and apricot tart with a speculoos base that my father made, the ‘ pain du lotte’ my mother made, the ‘bugnes’ (a type of doughnut) and blanquette (stew type dish, traditionally using veal) my grandmother’s speciality and the Breton rice my grandfather cooked.

As I got older, I also had a taste for history, the earth and research, which led me to study archaeology. It was by sheer hazard that cooking entered my life. To finance my studies I went to Switzerland. What should have been a simple summer job was finally what started my career as a chef. A pretty crazy story, just like a film unrolling at the cinema. A story that starts in the dining room of a restaurant and finishes in the restaurant kitchen. I taught myself how to cook, I watched every move the chef’s made and memorised their technical skills, I worked at it over and over again, until they offered me a chef’s post. A consecration, a challenge as well. I experimented, I created my own dishes using my emotions and my sensorial intuition. Today I can honestly say that it was my eight years in Switzerland that turned me into a chef.

THE VEGETALE REVOLUTION

Led by a taste of adventure and a love story, I became a chef on a catamaran before flying off to Thailand in 2012. It was a revelation I discovered vegetarian cooking through the bhuddist culture. Herbs,roots, spices nothing escaped my library of tastes, textures and smells. I familiarised myself with umami, the famous fifth taste.

When I returned to France I settled down in Arès, in Gironde, on the Arcachon Basin and got taken on, as a chef, in a traditional gastronomic restaurant but very quickly I realised that this kind of cooking was not me anymore. So I decided to create my own role by opening my own restaurant, vegetale and gastronomic. A massive challenge. By sheer determination, in October 2016, ONA opened her doors to customers.

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