by Amy Crocker
Like a kid in San Francisco developing a love of fog and fleece jackets, it’s no surprise that Dominique Crenn, born in France to a family of farmers, developed a passion for food. Currently the chef de cuisine at Luce, Crenn will appear as a contestant on the second season of The Next Iron Chef, which premiers Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9pm on the Food Network.
Passionate about sustainable food practices, Crenn is also the founder of "A Moveable Feast," a project that pairs local chefs with the produce from a local farm for a series of six dinners. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.
SFist spoke with the chef about her move to the city, buying locally, and her least digestible entrée ever.
SFist: As a chef, why did you move from France to San Francisco?
Dominique Crenn: Love, of course. I’m French and I’m romantic so I fell in love, I came here.
SF: How would you compare the two country’s culinary offerings?
DC: I’m not American but you guys have amazing wine, and coming from me is big deal.
SF: What was the most difficult part of filming The Next Iron Chef?
DC: In the first episode everybody was given an ingredient that we’ve never used. There are a lot of crazy ingredients in the Asian culture. I will never use it again; it is something I just don’t believe in. I have a lot of Asian friends and 99% I talk to about this say, “I can’t believe you got that it’s disgusting.” And they are from that country. So I’m just going to put that out there.
SF: How did you approach that ingredient?
DC: You look at it and you test it and you just try to figure out something that might go well with it. In my profession, when you do a dish it sometimes takes weeks or months and now you have to think quick on your feet. It’s about taking a risk. You just go for it.
SF: What was it like competing with other chefs?
DC: It’s a little girl in the middle of a candy store, meeting those great people. I was just so happy. In cooking is there is no ego, we all cook and we all learn and evolve.