On this month’s cover of FoodinLife Magazine, we welcome world-renowned French chef Dominique Crenn! Chef and owner of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, Dominique Crenn presents a concept with a modern vision for fine French cuisine. Her distinctive French heritage and creative gastronomic haven behind Atelier Crenn cuisine are a clear reflection of her unique life story. Atelier Crenn received its first Michelin star in a year in October. The following year, Crenn made history again when Atelier Crenn received its second Michelin star, becoming the first female chef in the United States to receive the honor. In November 2018, Crenn broke her own record, becoming the first female chef to receive three Michelin stars in the US. In 2021, Crenn also received the World’s 50 Best Icons Award.
Growing up in Brittany, France, she was introduced to the culinary arts at a young age by her mother, grandmother, father, and her best friend, a respected French food critic. She went to many of the area’s top restaurants during her childhood. In 1988 she went to San Francisco and started working for Jeremiah Tower at the famous Stars restaurant. Two years later, she returned to San Francisco in 2008 to head the kitchen for Luce at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, earning her first Michelin star in 2009. She opened Atelier Crenn with her business partner Juan Contreras in 2011 and the rest was milestones!
Her menus tell stories of time and place
“The seasons and what grows on my farm in Sonoma make up the colors of the food. I am constantly curious about the new flavors and techniques I have experienced during my travels around the world. I visualize new dishes and flavors and think about them for a few weeks. Then my R&D Chief and I collaborate, considering flavor profiles, techniques, contrast temperatures and textures.”
This summer, she is opening her first restaurant in Paris, Golden Poppy
“We recently renovated Atelier Crenn’s dining room and redesigned the menu to celebrate the state of California.”
“Innovation = Action = A better world”
“Innovation and technology are tools to help rebalance our ecosystem. As chefs, I believe we have the power to change the narrative for a healthier planet and an environment that is no longer endangered. Change now, we’ve been given tools, let’s use them.”
“I am very grateful for the projects that I can be a part of”
“Being recognized with 3 Michelin stars brings great people to the restaurant, but it doesn’t affect how we continue to create and serve our guests. We continue to learn, inspire and be a bridge for the next generation. We are just guests on this earth and our purpose is to continue to make humanity and the planet as a whole better.”
Her role as chief technical adviser for The Menu was one of the most enriching experiences of his life. The movie depicts the culinary world. She was responsible for advising on all aspects of food preparation and presentation to bring scripted menu concepts to life.
“You know, I consider myself an artist and when I was younger I wanted to be a photographer. Also, I’ve always been interested in movies. Working with director Mark Mylod, Ralph Fiennes and all the cast was incredible. We spent several months designing the kitchen layout and equipment and creating all the dishes. I spent days with lead actor Ralph Fiennes, who wanted to learn everything about being a chef.”
“We are the first restaurant in the United States to be certified plastic-free. Sustainability is at the forefront of our practices at all Crenn restaurants. At Bleu Belle Farm we use regenerative farming techniques and this has allowed us to restore the land we cultivate. Over the past few years we have planted native plant species on the land and reinvigorated the Monarch butterfly population. We store all our product waste and send it back to the farm for composting. We use all parts of the plant (tops, skins, etc) to create our fermentation program. We remove single-use plastics from our facility. Our sustainability practices also apply to our staff, who are given unlimited leave and encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I hope more restaurants will adopt such practices in the near future. Humanity and sustainability must be at the forefront so that our lives do not turn into shopping. Let’s not forget that we need to take care of our planet and each other.”