Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn (born 1965[1]) is a French chef. She is currently the only female chef in the United States to attain three Michelin stars, for her restaurant Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco, California.[2]

Dominique Crenn
Dominique Crenn 2013.jpg
Crenn in 2013
Born1965 (age 55–56)
Culinary career
Cooking styleFrench cuisine
  • 3 Michelin stars


Crenn, originally from Locronan, was adopted at 18 months by a French couple from Versailles.[3] She spent many summers in Brittany at the family farm.[1] Her mother, a cook with an "adventurous palate, took her young daughter to experience Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese restaurants in Paris."[4] Her father, a politician, would take his daughter along when he dined at Michelin star restaurants with his friend, a food critic for Le Télégramme.[1]

Crenn's experience on the family farm, her mother's cooking, and her visits to high-profile restaurants developed her culinary tastes. Disliking the male-dominated French culinary scene, she earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in international business.[1]

In December 2019, Crenn became engaged to her girlfriend, actress Maria Bello.[5]


Crenn moved to the United States to pursue her culinary aspirations, landing in San Francisco in the late 1980s. Her first restaurant position was at Stars, a prominent restaurant in the city run by celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower. After two years, she moved on to work at restaurants such as Campton Place, 2223 Market, and Yoyo Bistro at the Miyako Hotel before taking a position as head chef for the restaurant in Intercontinental Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. She was Indonesia's first ever female head chef, but was forced to flee the country during civil unrest in 1998.[1]

Returning to the United States, she became executive chef for Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, California and then at Abode Restaurant and Lounge in Santa Monica, California. In 2008, management at Intercontinental Hotel offered her a new position, and she joined Luce in San Francisco where she was awarded her first Michelin star in 2009, and was awarded another one-star ranking the next year.[1]

In 2011, she opened her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, California.[6] The Michelin Guide awarded the restaurant a two-star ranking, making Crenn the first ever female chef to receive two stars in the United States. Atelier Crenn was again awarded two stars in 2014.[1] She was awarded the Best female Chef in 2016 by world’s 50 Best Restaurant awards.[7] Crenn appeared on Season 2 of Chef's Table, a documentary film series on Netflix. In 2018, Crenn earned her third Michelin star.[8]

Petit Crenn, inspired by the food of her childhood in Brittany, opened in 2015. In 2016, Crenn announced plans to open Bar Crenn, a wine bar featuring small plates, next door to Atelier Crenn. In March 2018, Bar Crenn opened, earning one Michelin star in its first year, which means Crenn currently holds four Michelin stars. [9][10]

In 2018, Crenn was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: West.[11]

Cooking philosophyEdit

Crenn sees herself as an artist, referring to her dishes as "poetic culinaria." Katie McLaughlin notes in a profile of Crenn for The Wall Street Journal that Atelier Crenn "serves a cuisine so visually, texturally, and conceptually inventive it has both delighted and baffled critics and drawn international attention."[12]

Crenn is known to treat her staff well, avoiding the yelling and scrutiny that was common in professional kitchens for decades. She is also known to greet her guests, walking from table to table to do so.[1]



  • Rebel chef : in search of what matters. New York: Penguin Press. 2020. ISBN 9780735224742.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Current biography yearbook 2015. New York: H.W. Wilson. 2015. pp. 121–123. ISBN 9781619257078. OCLC 934533200.
  2. ^ Saperstein, Pat (13 June 2016). "Dominique Crenn on 'Chef's Table': 'It's Not About Me Cooking'". Variety. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Dominique Crenn. La meilleure Chef au monde est bretonne !". Le Télégramme (in French). 30 April 2016.
  4. ^ Jung, Carolyn (July 5, 2009). "Dominique Crenn of Luce". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Maria Bello Reveals She's Engaged to Chef Girlfriend Dominique Crenn: 'I've Finally Grown Up'".
  6. ^ "Food lovers of the world unite". The Australian. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  7. ^ Rao, Vidya. "Meet the World's Best Female Chef; what she thinks about that award". Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Dominique Crenn Wins Third Michelin Star, a First for a Woman in America". The New York Times. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Chef Dominique Crenn: 'Everything I Do Could Have ... Impact' For Other Women".
  10. ^ "Turning Tables: Dominique Crenn's Highly Anticipated Bar Crenn Opens | Wine Spectator".
  11. ^ "The 2018 James Beard Award Winners".
  12. ^ McLaughlin, Katy (2012). "Finding Poetry in Food". The Wall Street Journal.