Dominique Crenn Opens Up About Sexism In Restaurant Kitchens - Exclusive

Dominique Crenn is arguably the most highly-renowned female chef in America. Her three restaurants have all received acclaim, particularly the innovative and experimental Atelier Crenn, which has a coveted three-star rating from the Michelin Guide.

Despite all of the success she has achieved in her career, Crenn is acutely aware of the challenges faced by women who want to pursue a life in the kitchen. There are currently 137 three-Michelin-star restaurants in the U.S., and Atelier Crenn is the only one led by a female chef. Chef Crenn has been trying to fight sexism for her whole career, starting when she left France because she didn't think she could flourish in the macho world of French restaurant kitchens. Her second book, "Rebel Chef," tells the story of her lifetime battle against the hierarchical, male-dominated structure of the restaurant industry.

Dominque Crenn gave an exclusive interview with Mashed to talk about her involvement with Hard Rock International's Pinktober initiative to raise money for breast cancer research. In the interview, she also talked about the ways in which restaurant life can still be hostile to women, even as the industry has changed over the years.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

While Dominique Crenn notes that the food world is not uniquely hostile to women, since women face challenges in many industries, she paints a rather bleak picture of what it's like for female culinary professionals.

"I've talked to young women in the industry, and they don't make the same money. They are always harassed, even though they are working their butts off," she said. Though the industry has made promises to change in the past, Crenn doesn't believe that things have actually improved. "Even in 2022, [women] can't speak up because they need a job and they have kids to feed and they have a family."

In order to enact real, positive change on this issue, the chef says that men need to put in the work and not just leave the responsibility to women. "It's not just a women's problem, it's a human problem. We have to understand that we are here to be a part of building this society," Crenn explained. Only by recognizing the common humanity of kitchen workers across the gender spectrum can the food industry finally move past its problematic history (and present).

Hard Rock is kicking off this year's PINKTOBER with a special partnership and highly-anticipated dinner series with world-renowned chef and breast cancer survivor Dominique Crenn. Hard Rock will also offer PINKTOBER limited-edition menu items, specially designed merchandise, a songwriting contest, and more.