Gauthier Soho goes vegan after demands from celebrity diners

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gauthier Soho goes vegan after demands from celebrity diners

Related tags: Veganism, Meat

A top Soho restaurant has become the first fine-dining venue in London to permanently offer a fully vegan tasting menu in response to growing customer demand.

Classical French restaurant Gauthier Soho will serve up a new eight-course, £50 a head menu free from meat, dairy and eggs from 1 June.

It follows a rise in requests for vegan options from high-profile diners such as Tom Cruise, Al Gore and Stella McCartney.

Chef-patron Alexis Gauthier said the move was a ‘natural step forward’ with 50-60 per cent of all bookings at the restaurant made for its existing vegetable menu ‘Les Plantes’.

Though the restaurant still uses meat on its main menus, Gauthier decided to stop serving foie gras last year after admitting he had quit eating the dish years ago because he ‘didn’t believe in it’.

“As cooks, restaurant managers, providers of sustenance, we are responsible for setting an example,” said Gauthier.

“After I removed foie gras from my menu in 2015, we noticed zero negative impact on customer satisfaction. The impact the meat industry has on the planet is now recognised even by my primary school-aged daughter.”

Getting creative

He added that going vegan was ‘liberating’ and offered a new challenge to chefs.

He said: “It means you can be more creative. You look at a tomato from the inside, and really try to imagine what it is about its DNA that gives the flavour, without the safety net of dairy or egg for richness or fatty satisfaction. You are forced to think.”

Growing movement

The Vegan Society says that the number of vegans in the UK has more than tripled to half a million​ in the last ten years.

According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund and Sodexo released this week, one in five millennials are planning to reduce the amount of meat they eat in the next 12 months, with over two thirds wanting to see a wider range of plant-based options on menus.

Restaurants have been warned that they could ‘miss out’ on thousands of customers​ a year by failing to offer enough meat, dairy and egg-free options.

Gauthier said: “We are in the business of hospitality, and the most hospitable thing you can do is give your customers the choice to have exactly what they want, without feeling they are putting you out, or making a special request. We have always been as flexible as we can. Now we are 100 per cent.”

Gauthier Soho opened in 2010 and gained a Michelin star in 2011, before losing the award in 2012.

Related topics: People, Restaurants, Trends & Reports, Venues

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