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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Episode 114: Antitrust the process

May 21, 2019

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How to be a...

How to be a chef

Eliza Mills Nov 20, 2018
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Dominique Crenn is the first female chef to receive two Michelin stars in the United States.
Matt Edge

Update (Nov. 30, 2018): Dominique Crenn has earned her third Michelin star.

Everyone has a dream job growing up: doctor, vet, ice cream taste tester. But how do you actually get the gig? Marketplace is looking into how with the occasional series “How to Be a …


I’m Dominique Crenn. I’m a chef, entrepreneur, artist, poet, human being. I have three restaurants in San Francisco: Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn and Petit Crenn. 

I kind of do not like the word chef. Chef, giving you a sense of hierarchy and power. To be a good cook and to be a good leader, it has to come from within and to understand others. So it’s about someone that is willing to work hard. Someone that has dedication, that has a passion.

My mom was a great, great cook. She was not a chef, but she was a great cook. My dad was a terrible cook. He was in political business. Cooking or eating out was something that we experienced a lot. At a very young age, I fell in love with the idea of being in a restaurant and being surrounded with people around me. I don’t think at the time I thought about becoming a chef. I have a bachelor’s degree in economics. I never went to a cooking school. 

What I thought when I came to San Francisco was if I wanted to get into the business of cooking, I needed to work with someone that will inspire me.  It was about creating a path for myself and understanding where I wanted to go.

When I interview people that want to work with us, I often disregard their resume, because a piece of paper, it doesn’t tell me really who they are. I’m looking for honesty, vulnerability. I’m looking for strength, I’m looking for weakness. I’m looking also for someone that wants to learn and is excited about learning. Not everybody has the skill, and not everybody understands how to cook … so they don’t have to know how to cook. But I hope they can know how to eat.


 Dominique Crenn is the host of the Crenn World Chef Series at her restaurant, Atelier Crenn. 

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