Chef Dominique Crenn is making headlines globally after being introduced by the Michelin Guide as the first female chef in America to earn three Michelin stars, the highest honor a chef can acquire.
The French culinary expert’s restaurant, Atelier Crenn, received the news of their accomplishment the last week of November, after much acclaim over the establishment’s refined yet modern menu. Based in San Francisco, Atelier Crenn offers an experience with every plate, where, “each guest is greeted with a poem, [with] each line symbolizing a presentation in the meal.”
Crenn herself developed a passion for food at a very young age, and in 1988, moved from France to San Francisco to further her career as a chef. After the relocation, Crenn worked hard to earn award after award. Shortly following the opening of Atelier Crenn in 2011, the Michelin Guide quickly gave Crenn and her restaurant a coveted two Michelin stars, making her the first female chef in the U.S. to obtain the accolade. In 2016, she garnered a buzz after being named the “World’s Best Female Chef” by World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Outside of the kitchen, Crenn is equally as passionate about sustainability and equality in the culinary world. Her unheard of approach to paying her staff is well documented and admired. Crenn strongly believes in manageable hours and higher wages in her restaurants, often sacrificing profit for the well-being of her staff. She also founded the Root Project, a coalition of chefs and other influential humans that pledge to plant one million coffee and cacao trees in Haiti following the devastating Hurricane Matthew.
In a sit down with the Michelin Guide, Crenn asserts, “I want to understand the story of humans, I don’t want to be living with instant gratification and everything is convenient around me. I want to live life doing good things for others. ”
With three Michelin stars under her belt, Crenn joins a very select group of six women internationally to get the honor. This, notably, is far less than the hundreds of men who have earned the stars for decades, illustrating the very tangible lack of female representation in the industry and in food-orientated media, including TV shows and guest panels. Say Gordon Ramsey’s name, and you’ll most likely see some sort of recognition flash across a person’s face (or at least they’ll picture the “idiot sandwich” meme). Say Eugénie Brazier‘s name, on the other hand, and, well, be met with a blank face (she was the first woman to receive three Michelin stars, in case you were curious).
Crenn recognizes this gender gap, commenting in an interview with the Today Show that, “There are lots of amazing women in the kitchen, all over the globe. Focus on what we do. I will speak out about it every day, but I want the media to help me get the message out.”
Dominique Crenn, renowned chef-activist-humanitarian-global citizen, is prepared to shake up and dominate the culinary world, one perfectly crafted meal at a time.