“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.