Dominique Crenn has a lot to be proud of.
She's one of the most renowned chefs in the world, and was named World’s Best Female Chef in 2016 (although some question whether that designation should even exist). Her restaurant, Atelier Crenn, recently made it to No. 83 on the World’s Best Restaurants list. She’s also one of the stars of an episode of Netflix’s popular show, Chef’s Table, and she has two Michelin stars to her name.
Now, she’s adding “brilliant feminist” to that long list.
According to 9Kitchen, at a recent panel hosted by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants as a preface to their big reveal tomorrow, she was asked by a man in the audience about whether she felt like she’d sacrificed “the very important role of being a mother to children.”
After “a swelling ripple of uncomfortable gasps and muttering” filled the room, Crenn responded by explaining that she does, in fact, have children (twin daughters!), a fact that likely surprised the unsuspecting questioner.
Next, she asked if the man in the audience had simply assumed she didn’t have children just because she’s a successful chef, further emphasizing his bias. "If you have kids, I hope you stay home with them, so that your wife can go out and be a bad-ass woman," she said as the entire room began applauding.
That wasn’t the only point in the conversation at which Crenn made clear the prevalence of sexism in the culinary world. Her fellow panelist, Brett Graham, chef of London’s Ledbury restaurant, had described the predicament that many of his female chefs face when they decide whether or not they’ll leave their careers to be mothers. To that, Crenn said: “We need to stop pretending that we are all the same, but I also think we need to change the conversation around this.”