Dominique Crenn is one of the world's greatest culinary masterminds. She has repeatedly landed on in the top five of our Top 100 chefs list and is the top woman chef on this coveted list.
She is also the only female chef in the U.S. to have earned three Michelin stars for her renowned restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, CA.
And her list of achievements just goes on.
She has appeared in the popular Netflix documentary series Chef's Table, was named Esquire’s “Chef of the Year” in 2008, Eater's chef of the year in 2015, won the Iron Chef America competition in 2012, and was given a James Beard Award for Best Chef just this year.
Like most female chefs in this male-dominated industry, there have been challenges.
"When I started to work in the kitchen, there's not a lot of women that were working and I didn't try to pay attention to that," said Crenn to "NPR." "I had to work harder than others and I was a bit picked on sometimes. But I'm a very strong person. Nobody touched me."
Although she is deemed one of the greatest chefs today, Crenn still is treated differently because she is a woman.
"She has been successful because she does have talent and she has worked hard. But let's be honest, also because she has enormous charisma. She's beautiful and has that French accent," said Michael Buer, San Francisco restaurant critic to "The New York Times" who also said, "she cooks the way men are cooking."
Crenn, rightfully so, saw these comments as "degrading."
"I think he never should have said that. ... Saying that about me is a little bit degrading. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that should not be a factor in anything. And yes, charisma — what is charisma? I'm trying to be genuine every time I speak or every time I'm out there. Maybe you call it charisma, but this is who I am," said Crenn to "NPR."
But thanks to the #MeToo movement and strong leaders like Crenn, the industry is changing for the better. Crenn humbly recognizes that she is making a difference.
"I am just a little fish in the sea. But I do understand that everything that I do could have a little impact," said Crenn.
Read Crenn's full interview at "NPR" now.
We recently interviewed another chef and restaurant operator Jennifer Kim making a name for herself as a female leader in the industry. Her restaurant in Chicago named Passerotto opened last year with the goal of serving a modern take on traditional Korean food. Watch the video below to learn more about her journey in the restaurant industry.