Chloe Vichot's path to sustainable culinary success wasn’t a linear one — in fact, after moving to New York, she started out fostering a successful career in finance. But in 2015, she decided to pivot and pursue her passion of cooking. After getting two degrees in French and Italian techniques and cultivating her culinary clout at the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, she decided to open her own eatery.
The French native was eager to create her own fast-casual space, she was bothered by the amount of trash that was produced from American takeout meals. So she sought to create a lunch-focused spot with a sustainable slant.
“I didn’t realize that growing up in France meant I was an environmentalist,” she explained. “But when I moved here, I realized that what I was doing was different and that I was getting really upset with the amount of waste that came with to go meals, this is why I decided to open my place with the goal to become the most sustainable restaurant in NYC.”
Vichot opened Ancolie, named for a wildflower that grows in the Swiss Alps, in 2016. The ethically-minded space creates fresh meals that are served in sustainable glass jars. Reminiscent of über trendy and Instagram-friendly mason jars, the vessels have a wide mouth so you can eat directly from them. You can take them home once you’re done with them, or return them for a two-dollar store credit.
They serve everything from nut-free, gluten-free parfaits to bright rainbow salads with turmeric-infused quinoa. The dishes’ ingredients are also largely sourced in New York, from pesticide-free farms or other mindful businesses.
Since opening, Vichot has expanded her brand far beyond its flagship store in Greenwich Village. Ancolie products can now be found at Habitas, WeWork MRKTs and in the plastic-free vending machine FreshBowl in the WeWork Labs on 175 Varick, which she co-founded
For those looking to make their own mindful business, she encourages them to take small steps.
“We didn’t start with 100% of the practices we are doing right now, we added some along the way,” she explained “What is great, is that you meet a lot of people that are also passionate about sustainability that put you in touch with other amazing people and that creates an amazing snowball effect.”
More about Vichot and Ancolie can be found on their website.