Why MasterChef's Dominique Crenn Hopes You Don't Follow The Recipe

Dominique Crenn is a force to be reckoned with, both in and outside of the kitchen. The French-born television personalty is the co-owner and chef of Atelier Crenn, a San Francisco-based restaurant that received a Michelin star within a year of its opening in January 2011. This modern French eatery ultimately went on to attain three Michelin stars, making Crenn the first female chef in America to receive this coveted award. While most cooks dream of attaining this Michelin status, this was only the beginning of Crenn's culinary ambitions. 

The James Beard Award receipeint has not served meat at her restaurant since 2018, and aims to become the first chef in the country to serve lab-grown or cell-based meat on her menu (via Veg News). Like many others in the business, Crenn was also forced to temporarily close her restaurants at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than let this deter her, the agile chef reconstructed her restaurant, Petit Crenn, into a luxury food kitchen, and used it to serve food to frontline medical workers (per Haute Living). The visionary cook is constantly searching for new ways to push the culinary world into the future. But for Crenn, this innovation begins on the smallest of scales, with every dish she serves on every plate. 

Dominique Crenn is both a chef and an artist in the kitchen

The 56-year-old chef has always viewed cooking as an art form and refers to her restaurant, Atelier Crenn, as a place where "artistry is at the forefront, cuisine is a craft, and the community is an inspiration." Crenn describes her cuisine as "poetic culinaria," and her restaurants as her workshops and studios. As a chef, she likes to adapt an artistic approach rather than a clinical one. 

In an interview with Food Sided, Crenn states that while a recipe can be helpful, they "don't need to be followed precisely, they are merely a guideline. Use your own judgement and flavor preferences, try new things, make mistakes and learn from them," the multi-Michelin star chef shares. "Cooking should be fun and come from the heart." Out of all of Crenn's masterful creations, she refers to one particular dish as her most coveted. "One of my favorite French desserts is a Tarte Tatin, it reminds me of being home in Brittany," Crenn reveals. "The upside-down tart bakes apples in a simple caramel and covers them with a classic pastry dough. Fundamental techniques are used in this recipe but it's so simple and delicious!"