“French chef woosthe worldwith poetic culinaria” – World’s 50 Best
Growing up in France between Paris and Versailles, Crenn developed a keen interest in cuisine from her parents who celebrated Frenchfine dining. While Crenn credits her mother for her early introduction to the culinary arts, she also attributes her passion for fine fare to her politician father and his best friend (a well-respected French food critic) from whom she learned to appreciate the subtle nuances and unique flavours of great cuisine during their numerous sojourns to Europe’s best restaurants.
But Crenn is not someone who does things by the book. A Ted Talk regular, who speaks passionately about defining success, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, creativity and the importance of sustainability, she has always followed her own unique path.
A graduate of the Cours Charlemagne in Paris with a Baccalaureate in Economics and a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the Academy of International Commerce of Paris, Crenn has travelled extensively learning to use ingredients from different cultures to provide her guests with endless culinary pleasures.Crenn began her formal training as a chef when she moved to San Francisco in 1988. During this time she worked under the tutelage of San Francisco luminaries Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz at the celebrated restaurant Stars. She later worked at restaurants such as Campton Place, 2223 Market, the Park Hyatt Grill and Yoyo Bistro at the Miyako Hotel.Returning to the USA and spending almost a decade in Southern California, she finally settled in San Francisco, where after heading up the kitchen at Luce, she opened her own restaurant, Atelier Crenn, in 2011.
A homage to her late father, the restaurant is modelled on his personal studio and a place where art is the guiding force. Entitled “poetic culinaria” with menus written as poems, Crenn’s imaginative modernist cooking reflects her deeply personal creative expression and vision of fine French cuisine. Fiercely local, seasonal and sustainable, her highly artistic tasting menus speak of place and memory and take diners on an unapologetically emotional journey through flavours, textures and scents.
Last year, Crenn branched out to open a second restaurant called Petit Crenn. Inspired by the home cooking of Brittany and an ode to her mother and grandmother, it is a more homely space that serves a family-style five-course menu of vegetables and seafood. Petit Crenn is both the antithesis and perfect counterpart to Atelier Crenn; together the restaurants encapsulate the chef’s unique take on life and food.
As The World’s Best Female Chef 2016, Crenn may have come a long way from that little girl back in France who dreamed of becoming a chef. However, the memories of her childhood continue to define her extraordinary and singular cooking to this day.
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