CHEF PROFILE: Dominique Crenn

Based in U.S since 1988, Dominique Crenn, the only woman in the country with a two-star Michelin restaurant: Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, talks to Ishay Govender-Ypma about her homeland of Brittany, DNA testing and calls out the BS amongst chefs…Written for Woolworths Taste Magazine, September 2017 issue.

Dominique Crenn, image supplied

I go for it and never think: “what will I do if it doesn’t work?” When you are passionate about something, there is no question about it. Cooking came so naturally to me. I did not go to school for it and I was not really thinking: “Hey, maybe I should try to be a chef”. Life happened and it was the right thing.

Brittany is a special place. It is a beautiful part of France that I often feel the world does not know about. My parents were born on the coast. There is the sea with beaches that are not manicured, there is the wind and there is the roughness of the coast. The food is very straightforward – the lobster is all about the lobster, for example. And the seafood is some of the best in the world. There are some similarities with San Francisco – the water, the seafood, the vegetables, the people, the diversities and the farmers. The people of Brittany are very proud of who they are.

I write words, I do not know if I am a poet. When I was four-years-old I started writing my emotions through poetry. When you put words on a menu to express an emotion, it’s an important connection with the dish. Like a storyline – that’s how I want to express myself. Maybe some people like it, or some people don’t.

I think it’s natural to support your community or people who make such an incredible impact on the environment and the soil. I chose to work with local farmers and grow with them. If you are conscious about the planet then you should be conscious about everything else – like vegetables have to be a part of what you celebrate. At a restaurant, people think the vegetables are not expensive so it is not really important. We need to…

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