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Atelier Crenn

San Francisco, USA

Poetry on a plate from ground-breaking French chef

Why go: French chef Dominique Crenn describes her highly original and inventive cooking style as 'poetic culinaria'. Taking inspiration from childhood memories and the natural world, the tasting menu is presented as a poem with each line representing a different dish.

On the menu: Elaborate and avant-garde, Crenn's intricate food has a story to tell. 'Where the broad ocean leans against the Spanish land' is a unique take on 'surf and turf' – truffled Iberico ham consommé is poured around an island of smoked potato topped with squid, lardo and squid ink purée. Another highlight is 'Watching the beast rest beneath the leaves', which comprises squab pigeon hidden under a thin fruity layer with a smoked beetroot sauce.

Chef background: Originally from Versailles, Crenn began her formal training as a chef when she moved to San Francisco in 1988, working under Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz at the city's influential restaurant Stars. She made her name at Luce in San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel, where she earned her first Michelin star in 2009.

What else: Crenn is the founder of A Moveable Feast – a series of dinners in aid of sustainable agriculture that pairs local chefs with produce from a single local farm.

Did you know? Atelier Crenn was awarded two Michelin stars in 2012 – the first time a female chef in the US has achieved the distinction.

Images: Mika Takeuchi (dining room)

On the pass

  • Dominique Crenn

Style of food

  • Global eclectic fine dining

Standout dish

  • Grains and seeds – smoked buckwheat, quinoa soil, smoked trout roe and smoked sturgeon pearls with a warm bonito dashi broth