Chef interviews

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Thank you

Dominique Crenn

Interviewed June 2013

Q How long have you been cooking professionally?

A. I started to cook professionally in the early 90"S.

Q. Where did you train to cook?

A.   I don't hold a culinary degree, I took the path of cooking on my own, learning from my grandmother and mother in France and later training under different chefs, mostly in California. I am still training.:)
Q.  How would you describe your style of cooking?

A.  It is not a style but a philosophy that is mostly based on sincerity.  This point, sincerity, is what engages and directs all else, truly.  Being sincere about my work dictates those with whom I work, the farmers with whom I partner and manner in which I think about and create dishes.  Much of the inspiration I receive that fuels me to create comes from way deep inside of me and just the act of being inspired, having breath breathed into me, can only come from a sincere experience of something whether that is a film I see, a hike a take, a painting I see or sounds I hear.  Some may say that I change dishes frequently or incorporate new technique on an ongoing basis, which is both true and yet, each change and or incorporation is characterized by wanting and always striving to be sincere.

Q.  Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
A. being truthful of who you are and knowing exactly what your vision is.

Q.  Do you have a "signature dish" or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?

A.  Whole roasted chicken with apple, potato and cider jus.   

Q.  Do you have a favourite ingredient?

A. Actually right now is Koji, we have been making it in house for the last few months."Koji" comes in various forms, including rice koji, barley koji, and bean koji. It is best described as steamed rice or soy beans that are fermented with Aspergillus oryzae, a mold that transforms the grain into sweet".

Q.  Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off? 

A. So many....  we are blessed in San Francisco with the food scene, but my favourite could be Pagolac in the tenderloin (fancy Vietnamese food).

Q.  What is your most interesting or fun experience from your time in restaurants?

A. To be able to work with such an inspiring team at Atelier Crenn. 

Q.  What would be your "last request" dish? 

A. Un plateau de fruits de mer.   

Q.  Is there another chef that you most admire? 

A. Olivier Roellinger and Michel Bras.


Q.  Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?  

A. Learn with humility, know what kind of chef you want to be and find your mentor. 

Q.  Any final thoughts you'd like to share e.g. new developments at the restaurant?

A. We are in a process of growing all our vegetables and herbs. I am working on a book and I am a part of a movement to change the food system.