By Liam Mayclem, the KCBS Foodie Chap
Chef Dominique Crenn’s highly distinctive French heritage, imaginative gastronomic flair and proven originality behind the stove, reflect her unique life story. From her beginnings in Versailles, France, to the title of Esquire Magazine’s 2008 Chef of the Year, combined with her recent win on Iron Chef, Crenn has built a legitimate and solid reputation for her artisanal, sustainable and seasonal cuisine.
Crenn began her formal training as a chef when she moved to San Francisco in 1988 under the tutelage of San Francisco luminaries Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz for over two years at the celebrated Stars.
“Cooking to me is joy.” – Chef Dominique Crenn
In 1997, Crenn made culinary history as the first female Executive Chef in Indonesia, heading the kitchen at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jakarta. She returned to California in 1998 as Executive Chef at the Manhattan Country Club, in Manhattan Beach for eight years. Since her return to San Francisco in 2008, Crenn has led the kitchen at Luce in San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel where she earned her first Michelin star.
She is also the founder and driving force behind “A Moveable Feast,” a series of dinners honoring CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) that pairs prominent local chefs with produce from a single local farm.
Crenn, a 2009, 2010, and 2011 Michelin star chef at Luce, is once again stirring up the San Francisco culinary landscape with the opening of her new restaurant, Atelier Crenn. Located on Fillmore Street in the Marina in San Francisco, it’s a modern take on fine-French cuisine, where artistry is at the forefront.
It was at Atelier Crenn where myself and the elegant Chef Crenn recently came together for conversation and a taste or two from her poetic yet approachable, sustainable menu.
5 Tasty Questions with Chef Dominique Crenn
1. What flavor makes your palette most happy?
2. What food item do you love but we will not find on your menu?
Nutella and banana on a crepe of course.
3. What is the most memorable meal you have ever had?
I have had many memorable meals in my life but the most memorable was dinner with my Mother in Paris after my Dad had passed away. I made an amazing connection with my Mom.
4. If you were not a Chef what might you be?
A ballerina or photographer. Or both. Yes.
5. Your last supper. Three guests at the table, dead or alive? And what would you eat?
Roasted chicken, a lot of wine. My late Father and Catherine de Menezes and General Charles de Gaulle.
Slow Cooked Egg, Mushrooms and Crispy Kale
5 oz of baby chanterelles or other mushrooms
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
4 large sprigs parsley and make a bouquet garni with all the herbs
1oz white wine
½ oz butter
1 leaf of kale
8oz of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Heat water at 64 degree Celsius (use a thermometer) and keep that temperature. Ad the eggs in the shell and cook for 45 minutes.
While eggs are cooking, sauté the mushrooms in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Deglaze with white wine, add the vegetable stock and the bouquet garni and a bit of butter and let it cook slowly until mushrooms are tender.
Heat olive and fry the kale.
In bottom of a bowl crack the egg, arrange the mushroom around it and sprinkle with the crispy kale
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