Chef Dominique Crenn, the first woman to win two Michelin stars in the United States, sat with us to discuss her new projects and her inspirations. She also shed a light on what it takes to surmount the obstacles that can come up on a person’s path to achievement.
The artistic purity that Chef Crenn emits is more than just inspiring; it’s the type of creative humility that is usually only found in nature, poetry, and art. It’s no surprise that she’s changing the culinary game. If there’s a glass ceiling, then she will glaze that glass over with a bright flame, crusting it like crème brûlée, to break through and meet success.
“If you want to do things in your life, you can do them, if you really want to, if you put yourself in it.”
Dominique Crenn leads two famed restaurants in San Francisco, (Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn), a fashionable wine bar, (Bar Crenn), and will launch a third restaurant as well as a boutique next winter in San Francisco's tallest building, Salesforce Tower.
If you have a finger on the culinary pulse, then the name “Dominique Crenn” is a name that you know. And though she’s always been talented, her success was a winding journey, with certain hurdles, that have led her to where she is now. She didn’t always have the utmost support of investors, and the burden was sometimes unfairly placed on her gender.
“When I opened my first restaurant, nobody wanted to give me money. It was because I was a woman and they didn’t think that the restaurant would be hot enough for the market, or hot enough for people to come. So I realized: Okay, I just have to do this on my own,” Crenn said.
Chef Crenn pursued her dreams without hesitation. She made a plan, she saw her vision, and she rendered San Francisco as the city to make it all happen.
“Be confident in yourself. Know yourself. Don’t take anything for granted.”
We asked Chef Crenn if there was ever a time when she felt like she was in way over her head.
She said: Never.
The culinary world is a space filled with people from all different walks of life, but not everybody receives the same spotlight. Commercially, it’s a male-dominated industry. But change is happening.
“Women have to be a part of the conversation.”
Chef Crenn has partnered with Resy to lead some of this change. In their partnership, they created a dinner series that’s unparalleled to anything else at this moment.
The Women of Food is a six-night dinner series that will feature twelve chefs, all female, all who have been handpicked because of the major contributions they’ve made to the world of food.
“This is an industry where there’s a lot of diversity. I’d like to see people come together, to realize that we need to all work together,” Crenn said.
Every night of this series will feature different chefs and special meals that are both acclaimed favorites or made uniquely for the occasion. The Woman of Food series will kick off on March 27 and continue for about once a month, until November. Tickets went on sale on February 2, and they sold out on the same day.
"It’s happening, believe me. We are here to stay, and we’ve been here for a long time. We’re not going anywhere. We have to come together and be positive. That’s what I want: humanity at the forefront of everything that we do," Crenn said.
This series is not just the beginning, and it’s certainly not the end, but it’s a part of a bigger picture.
“I think times are changing, but they’re not changing fast enough,” Crenn said. “I think women have to be a part of the conversation.”
We asked Chef Crenn if she had any advice that she could give to women, or girls, who aspire to become professional chefs, and she had the best advice, “Be gentle and humble and kick ass.”
Dominique Crenn and Chef’d
If you can’t make it to San Francisco to dine at one of Chef Crenn’s fabulous restaurants, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on trying one of her meals. In our collaboration with Dominique Crenn, we created some meal kits that will give you a glimpse into her world. Experience her influence for yourself.