cover image Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters

Dominique Crenn, with Emma Brockes. Penguin Press, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2474-2

French-born, San Francisco–based chef Crenn, owner of Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn (also the title of her 2015 cookbook) and two other Bay Area restaurants, delivers an empowering memoir that celebrates female entrepreneurship. Crenn, born in 1965, was adopted at six months old by loving parents and raised in the suburbs of Paris and on her grandmother’s farm in Brittany, a place that ignited her passion for cooking. She talks of, as a woman, getting a “cold reception” from cooking schools in her native country, and, in 1989, moving to San Francisco, going to gay bars, and working in kitchens. She was 45 when she opened her first restaurant, Atelier Crenn: “Sometimes I get the sense that women over forty aren’t even supposed to be visible. Well, with respect, screw that.” Throughout, Crenn highlights her passion for organic ingredients (she makes sure her staff “has a chance to get out to the farm [in Sonoma] and reconnect with ingredients at a mineral level”) and celebrates her French culinary roots. Crenn talks of her achievements, among them preparing a dish for French president Emmanuel Macron, and of dealing with setbacks such as a breast cancer diagnosis (to which she responds: “I’m a warrior!”). This enthusiastic memoir will thrill foodies and inspire hopeful chefs. (June)