Here at Dalstrong we absolutely love those in the industry that are driving positive world change. We do our very best to uplift the people who are on the cutting edge, who are elevating the culinary world. Chef Dominique Crenn is absolutely the best example of this. From her advocacy to the ways she gives back to her community she is an excellent example to follow.
While we’ve certainly mentioned some of Dominique Crenn’s accomplishments we can’t get enough of this incredibly versatile chef. She’s done it all, from Michelin stars to multiple restaurant ventures (all located in San Francisco CA) to appearances on panels and television shows all over the world. She’s a true force in the culinary world and an activist for positive change.
We absolutely love her food, her work, and the way she drives the culinary world forward. If you want to hear a bit about her philosophy check out this video she made in partnership with us here.
From her early life in France to her successful restaurant career and subsequent charity work to her many, many media appearances, she just might be one of the most interesting women in the world. We’ll shed some light on who chef Dominique Crenn is, where she came from, and what she’s up to now. Don’t miss the trivia fun facts at the end and answers to some frequently asked questions
1. Quick Facts: Dominique Crenn Edition
Name: Dominique Crenn
Date of birth: August 10, 1965
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Partner: Maria Elena Bello (engaged)
Restaurants: Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, Bar Crenn
2. Early Life
Dominique Crenn was born in Locranonan, France but was adopted at the young age of 18 months. Food was a large part of her upbringing, with a grandmother who taught her to cook at a very young age and both parents who came from farmers. Her parents also loved fine dining and she was exposed to a variety of cuisine that shaped her refined taste early on.
She spent her summers away in Brittany at the family farm which honed her love for farm-to-table, fresh homegrown vegetables and playing around with different flavors from a very young age. Her father was a painter which inspired Dominique to find her own artistic form of expression, through food.
She moved to California in her mid-20s before making quite a splash in the restaurant industry. In San Francisco CA, it was her bold, confidence in her skill that led way to a brilliant career.
3. Dominique Crenn's Culinary Career
The French chef Dominique Crenn has been everywhere in the world, from small-town France to Indonesia to the bay area and Beverly Hills before opening one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Atelier Crenn.
Having spent two decades working as the chef of different restaurants, like the legendary Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz’s Stars both of which are located in San Francisco, she developed her bold, expressive culinary style. It is rumored that Jeremiah Tower originally gave her the job because he was so impressed by her confidence.
The woman was also the executive chef of the Manhattan Beach Beverly Hills and became the first female head chef in all of Indonesia. Since then Dominique Crenn has only continued to break boundaries throughout her culinary career. With the opening of her now three-Michelin-starred restaurant located in Cow Hollow, Atelier Crenn, in 2011 she really turned heads. Atelier Crenn is a fine-dining restaurant that elevates food to the next level.
Known for its creativity and attention to detail, each dish is based on the idea of “poetic culinaria.” This means that Dominique thrives to tell a poetic story with every plate and recipe whether that’s a grilled cheese sandwich or whatever whimsical creation the Michelin starred chef can dream up.
Instead of a traditional restaurant menu, guests receive a poem that depicts the story of the food. Even just browsing the restaurant’s website you get the idea that this is a serious form of artistic expression, a nod to the restaurant’s name atelier (French for workshop or studio). Dining here is an experience rather than a simply delicious and well-executed meal. The food is intentional and the environment reflects that.
The success of Atelier Crenn allowed her to open up her other two restaurants (Petit Crenn and Bar Crenn) both of which are located in San Franciso as well. She’s a rebel chef who cares deeply about food systems and sustainable, ethical practices and ingredients. With the 2018 World’s Best Female Chef, this year’s Icon Award, and many more distinctions she has the accolades to prove it like the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef : West, in 2018.
4. Charity Work & Advocacy
During the pandemic, Dominque partnered with us at Dalstrong to ensure that 2,000 plates of food per week were given out to anyone who needed them. With our donation of knives (much like this incredible series) and Dominque’s leadership, the unhoused population of the surrounding bay area experienced nourishing meals in a very turbulent time.
She has always been an advocate for women’s rights, speaking up numerously about working as a female chef in many male-dominated kitchens. But she is also an LGBTQ2S+ advocate, outspoken about workers’ rights, the BIPOC community, and sustainable, ethical practices in food.
Locally sourced products have been at the forefront of her cooking for her entire career. She sources her fish from local fishermen and only eats meat if she knows the direct source of where it came from. But it was after her breast cancer diagnosis that it became really clear to her that food is medicine.
She fiercely believes that we should be consuming food as medicine, as nourishment. In other words, she’s an advocate to put the Shake Shack, the grilled cheese, the upside chicken away and start eating some veggies.
We derive our energy from what we eat so Dominique views eating as an act of activism. She is working on changing the restaurant industry for the better by making incremental changes like removing meat from her menus, sourcing clean, local products, and avoiding big business in the process.
5. Media Appearances
Many of you may know chef Dominique Crenn from Season 2 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, which if you haven’t seen yet, I promise you’ll love it. Dominique has appeared on a million panels, television shows, and more.
She’s served as a mentor, a judge, or just some sort of culinary counsel because she is the best of the best and people want to hear what she has to say. From Australia’s Master Chef to Hell’s Kitchen to Man vs Child: Chef Showdown, she’s been on all the big cooking competition shows.
If you couldn’t tell already, chef Dominique Crenn is an absolute badass. She has a huge heart and has never been afraid to step up for what she believes is right.
A self-proclaimed rebel chef, she pushes the boundaries. But behind all of that, there is so much passion behind what she does. She has a deep care for the community and the planet and aims to use her platform, “to better this world, humanity, and Mother Earth.”
She is known for her bubbly, very playful personality. While she can’t paint like her father she loves to dance and engage in the arts. She truly seems like a radiant light in the culinary world.
7. Follow Her on Social Media
Dominique Crenn is a chef who is always involved in interesting things. She’s avid on the gram and posts fantastic content. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and make sure to learn more about her and her favorite Dalstrong products (hint: she loves a good Crusader knife) here.
8. Fun Facts About Dominique Crenn
If you’re anything like me and love a good trivia night with friends pay close attention. Here are few fun facts about Dominique Crenn to charm people with or throw out when it’s your turn to lead the trivia team.
- She is the only US-based female chef with 3 Michelin stars to her name.
- She won the Icon Award in 2021.
- Crenn is engaged to the love of her life, the famous actress Maria Bello.
- She was adopted at 18 months old.
- Crenn has a BA in Economics and a Masters in International Business.
- Her restaurant Atelier Crenn doesn’t serve meat!
- She served on the 2021 Jury for the Basque Culinary World Prize and is a huge part of the international culinary community.
- She ran multiple restaurants in Manhattan Beach before opening her own in San Francisco.
- Her foundation provides over 2,000 plates of food per week to the unhoused population in San Francisco.
- She wrote a memoir called Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters.
9. Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Dominique Crenn married to?
She is engaged to the actress (arguably best known for her role as bar owner of Coyote Ugly) Maria Elena Bello. They planned on marrying in 2020 but had to postpone due to COVID. The pair got together right when Dominique began battling cancer and their relationship has been going strong ever since.
How is Dominique Crenn doing?
She is absolutely thriving. She beat breast cancer and has been in full force ever since her successful final surgery. She has a new company focused on clean, nutritional food while balancing her restaurants, media appearances, and a million other things.
Where in Brittany is Dominique Crenn from?
She’s from the beautiful French coast of Brittany. It is a place she feels very proud of and one that has inspired her culinary creations for years. While she grew up there, she is actually from Locronan, France.
How much does it cost to eat at Atelier Crenn?
Let’s just say it’ll cost more than a cone from your local Bohemian Creamery. It is a three Michelin star restaurant so the price point reflects that. You’re looking at spending upwards of $300 per person on Crenn dining and that’s not including any alcohol. Add on another $200 or so if you want to try the wine pairings.
What is Dominique Crenn’s net worth?
The award-winning chef is worth roughly 8 million. That being said this woman has a million things on the go at all times. With all her ongoing projects and the temporary closing of one of her restaurants, we can’t ever really know!