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Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste Hardcover – November 3, 2015
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From the Publisher
A conversation with Dominique Crenn
The Michelin-starred chef and debut cookbook author chatted about food culture in her native France and the United States, what she wants people to take away from a meal at her restaurant, and more, with Harold McGee, celebrated author of On Food and Cooking.
You grew up in France, with a rich food culture. Why did you become a professional chef in the US?
It’s true, France has an incredible food culture, and it is still the deepest source of inspiration for me as a chef. French food made me who I am, nourishing my body and soul in my youth, but French restaurant culture is not always so nurturing, especially for women. In my twenties, I discovered that restaurants in France would only consider me for the front of house, so I moved to San Francisco, where I started cooking professionally. And I’m glad I did, because emigrating gave me the psychological distance I needed to let my memories rest a bit and the freedom and space I needed to express my own creativity.
Is there an underlying quality or theme or style that you think characterizes the food you cook?
As a chef, it’s important to me that my food is always personal, that it draws on memories and emotions. What you see on the plate will not be the same, but my approach is always from the heart. That’s the way that we cook, and I hope and believe that it comes through in the food.
What kind of experience do you try to create for people who come to Atelier Crenn?
I think the best way to describe it is as a great conversation, a true dialogue. Like when people come together to talk and listen, and are really open to another perspective. It’s fun to discover what makes another person tick—and so important. At the restaurant, I want my guests to be open to new things and to understand my food as a way of connecting with them.
What do you want diners to remember of their tasting menu experience at Atelier Crenn?
It’s definitely satisfying to hear that a diner has been thinking about Atelier Crenn the next day, or beyond, and though it’s not something I expect, I’ve run into a few different people recently who told me about their experience of eating my dish 'A Walk in the Forest,' and how it evoked memories of nature for them. In those moments, I feel like I’ve done something right.
And I suppose I do want diners to immerse themselves in the experience of Atelier Crenn. That’s why I love designing dishes to be eaten with the hands, because it makes the sensations so much more immediate. Using a device to take a picture gets in the way of enjoyment—and that’s one reason I’m so happy to have such a beautiful book, with all the photography by Ed Anderson, so there’s a visual record that doesn’t compete with the experience of dining at Atelier Crenn.
Which part of creating dishes do you find most rewarding? The inspiration, developing, eating?
Well, all of it! For me, it’s all part of an ongoing dialogue that we accomplish through food. If I had to choose, I’d say that the two most important moments are inspiration and presentation, which are the beginning and the end of the process. Each relies on the other for its fullest meaning, and for me, they are what cooking is all about.
“Atelier Crenn perfectly captures the creativity, talent, and taste of Dominique Crenn. At Atelier Crenn, she balances her French DNA and true American passion for ingredients that are local and sustainably raised and farmed. Crenn’s talent lies in her ability to express a delicate, original, and genuine voice in contemporary Californian haute cuisine.”—Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner, Daniel
“To dine at Dominique Crenn’s atelier is to take a delightful surprise-filled stroll through her world, Brittany and California, seacoast and forest and farm, her impressions translated into delicious tableaux by means of the modern cook’s full range of tools and techniques. Atelier Crenn is a fascinating window into the life, thought, and painstaking craft of one of our most accomplished chefs.”—Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking
“Dominique Crenn quite literally puts poetry on a plate every day at Atelier Crenn—she’s a fantastically talented chef who has already contributed a great deal to the rich culinary history of the Bay Area. This book is the story of her food, finding her voice as a chef, and her culinary philosophy, all of which will surely inspire readers to turn their own kitchens into ateliers.”—Nathan Myhrvold, coauthor of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home, author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine
“Dominique Crenn’s creativity and passion shine in this gorgeous book that showcases her unique cuisine. I am happy to have her as a friend!”—Elena Arzak, Chef and co-director, Restaurant Arzak
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I do think this book is best fit into the collection of a chef or a collector of amazing restaurant cookbooks, but for avid home cooks, you'll enjoy it as well. Do the "Look Inside" thing and decide for yourself, but it is a perfect book.
It certainly makes you appreciate what goes in to her cooking but I don't imagine myself trying the recipes. Everything seems quite complicated.
Most recent customer reviews
Provides some golden insights into the evolved modern cooking techniques and methods.
Inspireing and well written.