Monday, May 1

Food & Entertaining Post: Chef's throughts serving up inspiration about food, entertaining, cooking and living...

Chaising Childhood Memories
Through Food, Cooking & Connecting...
from Chef Dominique Crenn's words to our mouths
I'm not serving a menu, I've serving a story...
I'm serving my soul"  
- Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn
(Chef's Table interview)
Dominique Crenn thinks we tap into our memories as an important vehicle to get to know ourselves better, and this ideology serves us fodder on what to expect from Dominique Crenn's cuisine.
a signature dessert at Atelier Crenn, Walk in the Forest served in a ceramic plate designed by Florida artist Pat Parker imitating the grain and color of trees from Chef Crenn's childhood village of Brittany, France. 

Today, I share thoughts on food, cooking, connection, family, community and this through the eyes of French-born chef Dominique Crenn who owns San Francisco restaurant, Atelier Crenn.   I just finished watching an episode of one of my new favorite shows on Netflix, Chef's Table.  They do a fantastic job of getting to the core of the world's top chefs, peering momentarily into what motivates them, and all this as a way to understand their cuisine.  

This topic brings me to diverge for a moment about why on this very design-focused blog, I often write about food and entertaining.  How we cook, what we serve, how we entertain tells a lot about who we are and how we want to live.  You cannot separate the two.  Living in your home is not just about what table lamp you choose to put on the end table, or the paint color you choose to swathe your walls, but your world view, your philosophy and how you choose to connect to the community is infused through living, decorating, cooking and entertaining in your home.  I feel they are one in the same.

I was especially moved by Crenn's ideology on how she perceives food to be love, a way to connect her past and keep it struck me as I watched this show, how women have been doing this for generations, not chefs really but everyday women with families cooking and connecting as a way to sustain their families and communities.  Serving up love through food...this offers the very logical reason why women chefs bring an important emotionally connectedness to the table. But, do not mistake, Crenn is not a home cook, but, rather a two star Michelin chef for her restaurant, Atelier Crenn, the first American female chef to earn this coveted spot in the culinary world. 
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
February, 2017 New York Times article, photo Matt Edge
"A Precious Token" of egg, sage and chestnut 
In 2011, Crenn opened her first restaurant, Atlier Crenn in San Francisco's Pacific Heights, then won two stars from the Michelin Guide in 2013.  This gave her elite status as the highest-ranked female chef in the United States. The Times article this past February showcases Crenn's ascent to "rock star" status in this relatively short period of time.

Not long after winning her second Michelin Star, she opened Petit Crenn, a second restaurant which channels her mother's hosting and entertaining style, a typical warm, convivial casual yet sophisticated form of entertaining common in France.   

poetic menu card is offered up nightly at Atelier Crenn 
It was inspiring to hear that Dominique serves up poems rather than menus in her restaurant, the prose offering up the evening's menu in her own, unique magical way.  Emotion is her food.  Crenn was adopted at a mere 18 months to a loving family in Brittany, France.  As an adult, she forged her way from Europe to San Francisco but keeping her family close, and not forgetting her past. 

It is fascinating to learn that Crenn wants to get to know strangers, pointing out she was adopted by strangers, and this hopeful, optimistic outlook is what drives her to cook and serve cuisine.  She emphasizes when dining in her restaurants, you are visiting her home, bringing a very decidedly personal feel to her art form, something missing in many chef's tables around the world.  I am putting Atelier Crenn at the top of restaurant visits when in San Francisco, and until then her "food for thought" helps to revitalize and affirm my belief that cooking is love, art and design. 
3127 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, California 94123