The restaurant “La Coopérative”, in Bélesta in the Pyrénées-Orientales, obtained this year a green star in the Michelin Guide. It is the only one in Occitania to have won this label which rewards eco-responsible kitchens for the first time.
It is in the field, perhaps as much as in the kitchen, that Julien Montassié obtained his green Michelin star. Through a permanent search for seasonal, organic and defined products less than 50 kilometers from its establishment in Bélesta.
That morning, Julien is in Alénya with Sylvère who is a market gardener and in the greenhouse, they are eating strawberries.
Strawberries at the moment, I use them as a starter with peas. They are perfect because there is a good balance between acidity and sugar.Julien Montassié, Head of La Cooperative in Bélesta.
Julien does not go every day, himself, to look for his products. But in his approach, the relationship with the locals is essential.
“We first look for taste, then with Sylvère we speak the same language. We want organic, good and seasonal products. And it all becomes friendly” explains the chef.
As a producer, it’s nice to have a chef who asks us for specific products. We talk about it, we experiment, we test. It’s motivating.Sylvère Fourriques, market gardener in Alénya.
Trained by Michel Troisgros and Gilles Goujon, Julien Montassié, 31, has been chef at La Coopérative, the Bélesta restaurant since 2020. The requirements he defends there and which earned him the green star impose a permanent invention.
On the chef’s plate of the day, Catalan products. Peas from Elne, strawberries and onions from Alénya, and cuttlefish from Canet.
We make our dishes with top products that we offer to producers and fishermen.
Julien is not one of those chefs who get into the kitchen. Its vision of eco-responsible work also extends to personnel management and work organization.
This year, the restaurant is doing 2 fewer services per week, which brings the weekly working time down to almost 4 days.
The restaurant “La Coopérative” is therefore only open from Wednesday evening to Sunday noon. It is located within the Hôtel du Riberach, integrated into the former cooperative cellar of Bélesta.
The green star is an annual award that has stood out since 2021 for examples in terms of sustainability. 6 restaurants in France were honored in 2022. La Coopérative is the only one in Occitanie.
This award recognizes restaurants and chefs who demonstrate accountability for their ethical and environmental standards. They work with ethical suppliers and producers to avoid waste, and do everything possible to eliminate plastic and other non-recyclable materials from their supply chain.
Inspectors look for those who are at the forefront of sustainability, taking into account the following criteria:
- food waste
- The use of local and seasonal ingredients
- The ecological footprint
- Treatment and recycling of general waste
- Sustainable management