San Francisco, USA
What makes it special: Perched on a steep hillside in Cow Hollow, San Francisco, Atelier Crenn is a serene escape from the city. Complementing the calm interior and cosy dining room is Dominique Crenn’s elegant cuisine, inspired by her childhood and her artist father.
On the menu: Based on the concept of Poetic Culinaria, Crenn’s tasting menu takes diners through a poetic sequence of stunning dishes that may include a miniature and elegant take on a French onion soup and sustainably sourced abalone with cabbage and smoked mussels. Superb wine pairings and seamless service are led by charming general manager Maxime Larquier, while pastry chef Juan Contreras produces iconic desserts such as the much-photographed Coconut and Pineapple. Everything is balanced so that guests leave satisfied but never uncomfortably full.
A global icon: Not only is Crenn the first female chef in the US to earn three Michelin stars, but she is also an activist for women’s rights and the LGBTQ community. Crenn is a powerhouse in her kitchen and beyond – and now a very deserving winner of the Icon Award 2021.
About the chef: Originally from Versailles, Crenn moved to San Francisco in 1988 and fell in love with the city’s approach to diversity and creative thinking. She made her name at Luce in San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel, where she earned her first Michelin star in 2009. More accolades followed: in 2012, she achieved two stars and in 2016, she was voted The World’s Best Female Chef.
Other ventures: Just next-door is Bar Crenn, a cosy wine bar inspired by the lounges of 1930s Paris with a menu of French masterpieces including bone marrow custard with smoked crème fraiche, or local halibut with English pea and fava bean fricassée. Crenn also owns Petit Crenn, a seafood-focused tasting menu restaurant in nearby Hayes Valley.