Dominique Crenn Is All About Innovation, Induction and Fire
…and no surprise, French ingredients.
Dominique Crenn is all about innovation. At her San Francisco restaurants Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn, she brings her personal journey though Paris and Brittany to the plate. Her “poetic culinaria” (Atelier Crenn's menu is a poem) and inventive cooking gained her the title of The World’s Best Female Chef 2016. And she’s partnered with LG Signature to debut their Signature Refrigerator, which has innovative features like an instaview transparent window and step-activated sensor to open the door. F&W caught up with her to talk kitchen gear when she visited New York to promote her partnership with LG Signature as they launched their new appliances.
What kitchen tool can you not live without?
My tweezer. I use that for everything. Or my chopsticks.
What is your favorite piece of kitchen gear?
The Bragard apron is great. It’s a very old style, but I think they do an amazing job. It’s very clean. The white apron is beautiful.
What is the best new kitchen tool you’ve seen recently?
The Nomiku, which is a circulator to cook things at home. As far as the professional kitchen, I’m not into new stuff right now. I want cooks to go back to the old way of doing things so they understand the process. But, I do like the new induction that PolyScience is doing.
If we’re going back to basics, what tool or appliance truly changed how we cook?
When we used to press things like sauces and duck. That was pretty amazing. Fire is also amazing. Everything is cooked over fire at Petit Crenn. That grill we have at Petit Crenn is a very old American grill. At Atelier Crenn we have a Japanese grill. Basically everything is cooked on it. You don’t really see me sautéing anything, maybe sauces, but that thing is more gentle and it’s what cooking is about. It’s about fire. That’s what I like.
What ingredients should a home cook always have on hand?
Salt. The real one, the good one, the French one. Sel de mer. Not that salt that is not even salt. I use Spanish olive oil, which I love. I spend a lot of time in Spain. And good, salted French butter from Brittany. That is the best. And you have to have great wine—a bottle of rosé or Chablis.
What restaurant kitchen item do you wish you could have at home?
There is the Rational, an equipment piece that’s kind of like an oven, but it does everything. It steams, it roasts, it slow cooks. I think if they could make that for the home kitchen, people would be really happy about it. In Europe, many home kitchens have ovens with induction, but here it’s mostly gas. Induction is great because it keeps the temperature the same. Induction is better and cleaner than gas.
What’s on your holiday wishlist?
I would love to go to Japan. I really want to spend time with my family, with my mother, for the holidays. And I would love to find one of the most beautiful, old turn tables to play my records.