Dominique Crenn Bio
Melon and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Watermelon and Melon Shot
Raised in Versailles, France, Executive Chef Dominique Crenn developed a keen interest for cooking as a young girl surrounded by a family that celebrated fine dining. While she credits her mother for her early introduction to the culinary arts, Crenn also attributes her passion for fine fare to her politician father from whom she, "learned to appreciate the subtle nuances and unique flavors of great cuisine," during their numerous sojourns to the region's best restaurants with his best friend, a well-respected French food critic.
Before attending college, Crenn traveled extensively through Europe to learn the endless styles of cooking and possibilities of using ingredients from each culture. Crenn moved to San Francisco in 1988, where she began her formal training as a chef, fell madly in love with the city, and remained there for the next nine years. During this time, she built an impressive resume, working under the tutelage of San Francisco luminaries, Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz for over two years at the celebrated Stars. She later heated up the kitchens of lauded restaurants such as Campton Place, 2223 Market and the Park Hyatt Grill. Crenn was subsequently hired as executive chef of the Yoyo Bistro at the Miyako Hotel where she obtained an impressive three-star review in the annual Access San Francisco book during her one-year stint there.
Following her tenure in Northern California, Crenn moved to Indonesia in 1997, where she made history as the first female executive chef in the country when she took the helm at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Jakarta. Crenn's work in Jakarta was abbreviated due to the political turmoil in Southeast Asia and she returned to California in 1998 to accept the position of executive chef at the Manhattan Country Club, in Manhattan Beach. Club members, celebrities and dignitaries alike recognized her culinary prowess and soon Crenn was catering private events for personalities such as Vice-President Al Gore, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Juliette Binoche, Sidney Poitier, Sharon Stone, Cindy Lauper and the Japanese and Egyptian Ambassadors to France.
Named a "chef to watch" in 2007 and now Best Chef of the Year 2008 by John Mariani in Esquire Magazine, Chef Crenn's vision at Luce is to create a menu that emphasizes high-end artisanal, sustainable, and seasonal New American cuisine with wonderfully unexpected and diverse influences. Showcasing her own unique brand of inventive, market-driven fare, the chef de cuisine firmly stands by her belief that imagination and originality are the most important aspects of cooking and applies that directly to her culinary offerings at Luce. "Having had the opportunity to observe and learn from some of the most beautiful cultures in the world throughout my life, I reflect these experiences in my cuisine by marrying diverse flavors and natural ingredients together to please the palate," asserts Crenn. With her distinctive French-Moroccan heritage, gastronomic flair and enigmatic personality, Crenn is destined to make her mark on San Francisco's culinary scene. Luce was named one of 20 Best New Restaurants in Esquire Magazines' October 2008 issue, and selected by Robb Report Magazine's editors as one of seven restaurants named Best of the Best 2009.
Crenn is also a passionate advocate of using organic, sustainable local produce and ingredients in her food. She is the founder and driving force behind "A Moveable Feast," a series of six dinners over six months pairing two prominent local chefs with the produce from a local farm, and honoring CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. The launch event was held at Luce, and a percentage of proceeds from the dinners were donated to CUESA.