SF Chef Dominique Crenn named one of TIME's most influential people of 2024.
Chef Dominique Crenn, photographed at her Michelin three-star Atelier Crenn, has been named to the 2024 TIME 100. (Adahlia Cole)

SF Chef Dominique Crenn named one of TIME's most influential people of 2024.


Dominique Crenn’s career has been so improbable, so extraordinary, it reads almost like a novel.

She earned her first Michelin star at Luce in 2009, the same year she debuted as a competitor on the culinary competition show The Next Iron Chef. Two years later, Crenn opened her pioneering restaurant, Atelier Crenn, and quickly became the first female chef in the U.S. to ever earn two Michelin stars. Less than a decade later, she did it again, becoming the first woman chef in the U.S. to nail a third star.

Dominique Crenn has been awarded Best Female Chef by World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2016), Best Chef: West by the James Beard Foundation (2018), and earned the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ Icon Award (2021). She has starred on multiple television shows, including Chef’s Table and Top Chef France, and mentored Ralph Fiennes in his turn as a fine dining chef in the 2022 horror-comedy The Menu. In 2023, she opened her first restaurant concept outside of SF, Golden Poppy, in her native France.

But while Crenn is best known for her culinary creativity, her work behind the scenes on issues of food justice and sustainability have been equally essential to her legacy. She took meat off the menu at all three of her restaurants in 2019; transformed Petit Crenn into a community kitchen to feed vulnerable, food-insecure San Franciscans during the pandemic; and has worked with local leaders to re-envision the city’s corporate-dominated food system.

In short, the woman is one of the most important chefs of the 21st century, and even Time Magazine knows it. At the end of last month, they named Crenn one of the 100 most influential people of 2024.

7x7 caught up with Chef Crenn to see how it feels to receive the honor, and to hear about what’s on her plate for the rest of the year.

Chef Dominique Crenn. (Adahlia Cole)

7x7: Congratulations on being named one of TIME's 100 most influential people! How does it feel to receive this honor?

DC: It is an honor to be recognized for the years of hard work and engagement. I am so grateful to now have a larger platform to continue advocacy for equality and humanity, not only in my industry, but everywhere. I hope I can help others to bring their voice to the forefront.

You've got a new(ish) restaurant in Paris, Golden Poppy. Tell us about it.

Golden Poppy is inspired by the place that I consider home—California. The menu incorporates multicultural flavors and techniques in a thoughtful and whimsical way. I like to say that Golden Poppy is the artistic expression of love on the plate. Golden Poppy in Paris is only a short term residency but we have plans to expand that brand internationally. Stay tuned about where we might pop up next!

You've been very active in promoting food justice, sustainability, and equity. Why is this important to your work in the Bay Area and beyond?

I think it is always important to start within your own community, where you live and breathe every day. Working with others and understanding their hardships is the only way we will make progress. The Bay Area is a beautiful place made up of amazing communities of small businesses and entrepreneurs. The hard work of craftsmen, farmers, fishermen, and small businesses in general—that's where the power is. There needs to be more emphasis and gratitude placed on these individuals because they are the heart of our communities.

You're currently a judge on Top Chef France and have appeared in several other food series. How does your work on camera fit into your overall role and responsibility as a chef?

I really enjoy doing food series, especially Top Chef, because it gives a platform to young chefs and acknowledges their greatness. They are the next generation of chefs and I want to see them being lifted up.

There haven't been many chefs on TIME’s list of influential people over the years. Why do you think you made the cut?

I am a human, a woman, a thinker. Being a chef doesn’t define who I am; it's what I do with my platform that is important. I use my craft as a tool to highlight new ideas and embrace change.

Here in SF, you've got Atelier Crenn and Bar Crenn. What's coming up for you in the next couple of years in the Bay Area?

I have Petit Crenn too! Starting May 15th, Petit Crenn will offer a menu drawing from the food traditions of my mother and grandmother. The tasting menu will be classic and creative, combining the flavors of Brittany, France with the fish, seafood, and produce of California. Seats will be available Wednesday through Saturday, mid-May through the end of June. Other than that, my team and I are working on several other big projects locally and nationally. We can't wait to announce the exciting news!

// Atelier Crenn is at 3127 Fillmore St. (Cow Hollow), ateliercrenn.com; Bar Crenn is at 3131 Fillmore St. (Cow Hollow), barcrenn.com; Petit Crenn is at 609 Hayes St. (Hayes Valley), petitcrenn.com; Golden Poppy is at 24 Rue Cadet (Paris), goldenpoppy.com

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