On Sunday night, Chef Dominique Crenn will again appear on Iron Chef America, when she does battle against Chef Michael Symon on the Food Network. Michelin rated Luce Wine Restaurant, where Crenn is the Chef de Cuisine, will offer the Chef’s TV-inspired creations with a special Iron Chef menu, priced at $65 per person, and starting on August 10th. It is unknown if the 45-year old Crenn championed over Symon on Iron Chef, but her publicity machine is heavily promoting this appearance. Crenn has also competed on The Next Iron Chef, where she was given the rather onerous task of making dishes with sea cucumber.
Crenn first moved to the Bay Area in 1988, and has worked under Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz at Stars, as well as put in kitchen time at Campton Place, 2223 Market, and Yoyo Bistro at the Miyako Hotel. She worked in Jakarta, Indonesia, which was cut short by the 1997 political unrest in Southeast Asia. She ended up in L.A., doing private catering for luminaries such as Al Gore, Sidney Poitier, Juliette Binoche, and Cyndi Lauper. Crenn has long been an advocate for sustainable and organic cuisine. As founder of the “A Moveable Feast” dinner events, she worked with local farmers and chefs to raise funds for CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture). She is also a frequent presence at other food-related charity events.
Her (tres magnifique) French accent remains, and she was raised in Versailles. Crenn’s father was a politician, and helped introduce her to fine food as a child. His best friend was a French food critic, and she journeyed to many eating spots to eat and learn. When Crenn was shooting Iron Chef, it was the tenth anniversary of her father’s death.
The chef shared her favorite eating spots with Bay Area Bites via email. Her comments have been edited for content and brevity.
I really enjoy the bone marrow or duck heart and, of course, Daniel Hyatt is a cocktail genius. He makes you feel at home at Alembic and he seems to know everyone. Great spot, great food, and amazing cocktails.
I love to come here and have the bacon bonbon or sardine and a nice glass of wine. I sit at the bar. I just love the decor too. I think of myself as a gypsy and I really feel right and comfortable here :)
You can’t go wrong with any banh mi on the menu! I love this place and I really like the fact that it’s in the Tenderloin. It also reminds me of the only food that I could afford when I went to school in Paris.
They serve the most amazing crepes like the ones I had in Brittany; they remind me of where I grew up.
You can’t go wrong with oysters with white wine on a date! I love the ambiance, it’s romantic and casual… I can stay here for hours.
Chocolate croissant and macaroon at Patisserie Philippe are Chef Crenn’s idea of guilty pleasure eats.
Photos by Rien van Rijthoven