The French-born, San Francisco-based chef, who is the co-owner and chef of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, will receive her award at the official ceremony for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, to be held in Antwerp, Flanders, on 5 October.
The Icon Award celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry worthy of international recognition and who has used their platform to raise awareness and drive positive change. In addition to being named The World’s Best Female Chef in 2016, Crenn has made history throughout the course of her career while blazing a trail for future chefs to follow. Crenn is a LGBTQ+, inclusivity and sustainability activist and author of Rebel Chef – In Search of What Matters and has led a distinguished career.
She developed a keen interest in cuisine from her parents before she moved to the US aged 24 and began her formal training. Crenn then became the first female executive chef in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she headed the kitchen at the Intercontinental Hotel. After returning to San Francisco to work at the acclaimed Luce, she opened Atelier Crenn in the city in 2011. The restaurant was rewarded with its first Michelin star within months; the following year Crenn became the first female chef in the US to oversee a restaurant awarded two stars.
She then beat her own record once more in 2018 when Atelier Crenn graduated to three-star status. In 2019, Atelier Crenn ranked No.35 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 (now in remission), Crenn has been an advocate of openly speaking about her health, in order to help raise awareness of the disease. As a self-identified half-European, half North-African individual, Crenn also campaigned passionately for Black Lives Matter in 2020 and beyond.
“It is an incredible honour to be selected as the recipient of the 50 Best Icon Award this year,” says Crenn. “For my work to be recognised by my peers fills me with such pride and appreciation. I hope to use this platform as an opportunity to give back and to inspire the next generation to be true to themselves and to always enjoy the journey.”
William Drew, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants says: “Dominique Crenn is not just an outstanding chef and restaurateur, she is an example of someone who speaks truth to power in every aspect of her life – through her leadership, humanity and endless campaigning for social justice within as well as outside of the hospitality sphere. Her devotion to sustainability, her community and her restaurant teams, while achieving and delivering culinary excellence time and time again, makes her a hugely worthy recipient of this year’s Icon Award.”
The Icon Award was introduced in 2019 with the inaugural winner, Spanish-born chef and restaurateur José Andrés, honoured for his work with World Central Kitchen. 50 Best will announce one further special award prior to the Antwerp ceremony: the American Express One to Watch Award on 15 September.
The list of restaurants ranked from 51st to 100th in the annual vote will be released on 23 September, ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants being announced on 5 October.