SIAL PARIS is thrilled to welcome Dominique Crenn to preside over this exceptional 2020 edition. An inspirational French chef and the first woman to earn three Michelin stars in the United States, no-one could be a more fitting ambassador for an event resolutely focused on change, on reinventing the way we understand, produce and consume food for a positive, sustainable future.
More than a voyage, a life journey
Dominique Crenn was introduced to the art of cooking and dining at a very young age, on the family farm in Brittany, at her parents’ dinner parties in Versailles, in the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants of Paris as well as the capital’s finest Michelin-starred establishments. She discovered a love of food, but also a taste for adventure.
She travelled extensively, throughout Europe, exploring the endless culinary styles, ingredients and creativity of each culture before settling down to study. Put off by the male-dominated world of haute cuisine, she opted for economics, gained a master’s in international business and, in 1990, she moved to San Francisco. Here, she began her formal training under luminaries Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz at STARS, at the heart of an extraordinarily creative culinary community.
Poetic culinaria : a new langage in food
In 2011, she opened Atelier Crenn, a deeply personal project that pays homage to her roots. Her father’s art hangs on the walls, her whimsical creations are an ode to her mother’s garden in Brittany, and her guests are greeted with a poem that tells the story of the people and places behind each dish…because, for Dominique Crenn, “food is a language, a way to connect”. She calls it “poetic culinaria”.
Atelier Crenn received its first Michelin Star in its opening year, another in 2012 and the third star in 2018. In 2019, it entered the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list at N°35. In 2015, Crenn opened Petit Crenn to pay tribute to her inspirational upbringing in a more casual setting. At her most recent creation, Bar Crenn, which is inspired by a 1930s Parisian salon, she pairs classic French recipes with organic and biodynamic wine. In 2018, Bar Crenn earned her yet another Michelin Star and was voted Esquire’s “Best New Restaurant in America” – and Crenn herself was honored with the award for Best Chef: West by The James Beard Foundation.
Food as art, food as activism
Dominique Crenn is driven. She sees herself as both an artist and activist. Her award-winning family of restaurants in San Francisco is not just a celebration of her roots – they are a showcase for the source and quality of each ingredient, and the precious relationship between people and nature. What’s her inspiration? “Life is inspiration, people are inspiration.”, she says. “ As chefs, we have a responsibility not only to cook, but to think before we cook. It’s an act of activism. Everything we do has consequences on the environmentand the social economy, and we have to understand that. Without food, there is no life, no society…food is everything.”
Meet our star Chefe at SIAL Paris
As an active member of the international culinary community, Dominique Crenn does humanitarian work around the world and promotes innovation, sustainability and equality through her participation with various panels and summits. She will open SIAL PARIS on 18 October 2020, be a keynote speaker at several conferences and participate in all the debates and roundtable talks. She will also lead the jury at the SIAL Innovation Awards to honor the best innovations on display at the exhibition among more than 2000 entries.
Watch this space for our exclusive interview with her in a few weeks – we can’t wait to find out more!