Chef Dominique Crenn is just back from a trip to the Omnivore Food Festival in Paris, where she was one of the few Michelin-starred female chefs asked to participate. She is full of inspiration and ideas, and launching a special dialogue dinner for two nights this month at her Atelier Crenn restaurant on March 28 and March 29. This dialogue dinner series kicks-off with a two-night “conversation” between Chef Crenn and Miles Watson of Pure Berlin. Crenn and Watson will take turns composing courses (five from each side) and will collaborate on the final eleventh course. Like Atelier Crenn’s “fiercely modern” French cookery, Pure Berlin is a restaurant and culinary design studio with firm German roots, but fresh gastronomic sensibilities. Tickets are $300, including coursed wine pairings (reduced price of $200 for non-drinking guests); no vegetarian option available.
Crenn is a native of France and received Michelin stars at Luce in 2010 and 2011. Esquire awarded her Chef of the Year in 2008 and she won Iron Chef America in 2010. Before opening her own restaurant, Crenn worked at Luce, and in Jakarta and Los Angeles. She was a protégé of Jeremiah Tower at the vaunted Stars Restaurant in San Francisco early in her career. Crenn lives in the Duboce Park neighborhood and spoke with Bay Area Bites via phone. She was on her way to eat at Heirloom Café for the first time, after finding the wait line at Mission Chinese Food to be too long.
Why do a dialogue dinner with another chef?
Many times with chefs, it can be all about the ego (laughs). I want to get away from there. I’m starting this dialogue because I want to collaborate with other chefs. I love what we’re doing as chefs, and go online to learn from my peers at Chef’s Talk. With Miles, he’s trying to show people that there’s really something good about German food beyond heavy stuff, like sauerkraut and sausage. It’s his heritage, and he can use a modernist’s touch to the courses. I gave him the freedom to express himself and be what he is. There’s a story on the plate and the menu’s also going to be the story. I want it to be like this: “Tell me who you are, and where you’ve been.” We both cook with local produce but I’ll email him so that he knows what we have in season here. So far, we’ve been in touch via email and I first met him online at Chef’s Talk. I was supposed to meet him at the Omnivore Festival but it didn’t work out.