The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink

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Fortune and Food & Wine teamed up for the second year to bring you the dynamos bringing fresh ideas to everything from clean water and home products to goat cheese and wine—in ways that benefit the broader world. —By Beth Kowitt, Christine Quinlan, Lucy Madison, and Shadia Alame
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Dominique Crenn

Chef and Owner, Atelier Crenn
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Photo: Stephanie Hua

“I don’t want people to look at my menu and see just the ingredients,” says chef Dominique Crenn. “I want to take them on a journey.” At Atelier Crenn, her flagship San Francisco restaurant, the experience is grounded in poetry and nature: Menus are written in verse, and the food is presented alongside elements from nature, like honeycombs that double as serving dishes. Her newest restaurant, Petit Crenn, facilitates a different type of connection: The servers are also the cooks. “The chefs connect with the guests, as well as to the food.” Not everyone understands her boundary-pushing approach, but Crenn, one of the most ambitious and technically accomplished chefs in the country—and the first woman in the U.S. to receive two Michelin stars—has faith in her instincts. “I’ve met a lot of people who were resistant to my ideas, because they were afraid to get into unfamiliar conversations,” she says. “I didn’t listen to them.” Crenn’s forthcoming cookbook, Atelier Crenn, is out this November with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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