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Rebel Chef

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Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters

2020 Penguin Press


The inspiring and deeply personal memoir from highly acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn

When Dominique Crenn was awarded three Michelin Stars in 2018 for her influential San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn, she became the first female chef in the United States to receive three stars - no small feat for someone who hadn’t gone to culinary school or formally trained in French kitchens. In REBEL CHEF, Crenn reflects on her untraditional coming of age as a chef, beginning with her childhood in Versailles where, as the adopted daughter of a politician, she was emboldened to be curious and independent, and to find her own voice. She was exposed to fine dining from a young age, and a family friend, a restaurant critic, encouraged her to see the story behind the food. But at 21, after deciding to become a chef, she found it to be a near impossible dream in France, where men dominated the kitchens. Never one to be told no, Crenn moved to San Francisco to work under the legendary Jeremiah Tower. It was there that her training began.

But there is another reason Crenn has always felt free to pursue her own unconventional course. Adopted as a toddler, she didn’t resemble her parents, or even look traditionally French. Growing up she often felt like an outsider, and was haunted by a past she knew nothing about. But after years of working to fill this blank space, Crenn recognized this duality as a source of strength, one which gives her the power to be whoever she wants to be.

Filled with stories from the years Crenn spent working in the male-centric world of professional kitchens, tracking her career as she becomes the first female executive chef in Indonesia, competes on Iron Chef, and is featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, while at the same time speaking out on restaurant culture, sexism, immigration, and climate change, REBEL CHEF is a disarmingly honest and revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a daring young chef to a respected activist. At once a tale of personal discovery and a tribute to unrelenting determination, as one woman makes a place for herself in the kitchen, and in the world.

Tagged: food writing, memoir, individual chef

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