The San Francisco chef Dominique Crenn’s poetic approach to her innovative dishes has landed her among the most celebrated chefs in the world.
From using her powerful voice as an advocate for women’s rights and LGBTQ+ communities to giving back to the hungry and the restaurant industry–Crenn is all around a great example of who a Michelin-rated chef should be.
5 Facts About Dominique Crenn
1. All three restaurants don’t serve meat!
Atelier Crenn has been meat-free since 2018. To “effect real environmental change,” Crenn has removed all land-based animals from her menus. Seafood and dairy are still widely used ingredients.
“Meat is insanely complicated—both within the food system and the environment as a whole—and, honestly, it felt easier to just remove it from the menus altogether,” Chef Crenn claimed.
2. She is the only US-based female chef to have 3 Michelin stars to her name.
It’s no big surprise that males largely dominate the restaurant industry. Crenn said in an interview with Time magazine,
“I don’t know why it took them so long to give a female chef two Michelin stars in the U.S., but awards are just awards, and it’s what you do with that recognition that defines who you are. Every day you’ve got to go back to work and make sure the restaurant is busy. Being the first just makes you realize they have a long way to go. There are many amazing chefs in this country who are women, and I don’t know why they’re not getting recognized.”
3. Dominique Crenn never went to culinary school.
The highly acclaimed chef never went to culinary school. She has an economics and business degree from Paris. Crenn moved to San Francisco in her 20s after noticing the glass ceiling in French kitchens.
Jeremiah Tower was THE hot chef in San Francisco at that time, so Crenn went to his restaurant to get a job. “I walked right up to Tower,” she writes in her autobiography Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters, “looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘I want to work for you. I’m French so I already know how to cook.’” She was hired on the spot.
4. She has a 4-acre organic farm in Sonoma, CA
Dominique Crenn supplies her restaurant with organic ingredients from her own 4-acre property in Sonoma called Bleu Belle Farm.
“Our farm team uses regenerative agriculture practices to rebuild the organic matter in the earth as well as restore its biodiversity. There are a number of initiatives we have successfully incorporated into the farm including participation in California’s native plant program and a detailed compost program that begins at our restaurants.” says the Atelier Crenn website.
5. Crenn was the culinary consultant for the blockbuster movie The Menu.
Director Mark Mylod of the blockbuster movie The Menu, brought in Crenn as Chief Technical Consultant to help conceptualize the menu for The Menu.
Her style isn’t as intense as Fiennes’ character. Still, her unconventional tasting menu, where dishes are sometimes evoked, rather than described, with lines of poetry like “by the shimmer of white pearls, tumbling in the ashen cloud,” gives off the same aura of opulence.
Stay tuned for more fun facts that you might now know about other famous chefs.