This is week two of the Euphoria chef series. Starting on September 21st, and running through the weekend, Greenville SC will be holding the Euphoria food, wine and music festival. Chefs from all around the country will attend to cook and teach.
I’ve been lucky enough to interview a few of those attending. Last week, Chef Scott Crawford of Crawford and Son, in Raleigh was generous enough to do an email interview.Chef Dominique Crenn, is chef/owner of Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn in San Francisco. She holds two Michelin stars, and the title of world’s best female chef. Chef Crenn was a finalist on Food Network’s Next Iron Chef. She’s also mother to two little girls, and an extremely chic French woman. I’m a huge admirer.Chef Crenn kindly consented to the interview, but rather than doing it via email, she wanted a telephone conversation. On one hand, I was thrilled. But on the other, I was petrified. I felt like a middle-school science student interrogating Sir Steven Hawking.
I needn’t have worried. She was gracious and patient. What follows is a transcript of the call (When you read her answers, imagine them in a charming French accent).France does many, many, many food things better than the US. What does the US do better? I don’t know if it’s better than France, what I like about the United States is liberty and freedom, of thinking and creativity. There is less bureaucracy than in France.
What is the one French food or food experience you miss the most? My mother’s cooking. What was one of your favorite? Many, many, many dishes. She used to make this beautiful whole salmon or any type of fish that used to come from the fish monger. And roast it with many beautiful vegetables and herbs with some olive oil in the oven. Just delicious, and I miss that. And I miss her famous tarte tatin, which is an upside-down apple tart that she used to make—that I miss, a lot. It’s comfort food, you know? It’s made with so much love.
What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.What is your favorite? Maybe a chocolate with a praline (The French pronunciation of praline is prah-lee-nay).
What do you make when you get home from the Atelier and it’s late, and you’re hungry? Grilled cheese sandwich.
What kind of cheese? Comté cheese, or some type of aged goat cheese.
You have twin daughters, how old are they? Three years old.
What do they eat for lunch? Do they like grilled cheese too? It’s very interesting. They’re very picky, but they love everything vegetable. They love pasta and pizza, but we make everything from scratch. They love cauliflower! They like to go shop and pick up their own vegetable and go home and cook it, so this is pretty cool.I read what you said about American kids, that they’re our most treasured possession, but we feed them the worst food. It’s very important to introduce to your kids a very healthy diet. Fresh food; stay away from the prefab food. You know in the long run, before the age of four, this is where they get their taste and understanding what food is about, without even knowing, and this is very true.
What five tools can you not live without? I don’t know if it’s a tool, but I cannot live without salt. Definitely, a good, sharp knife.
What type of knife do you use? Japanese.
Please join me next week for more of my conversation with Chef Crenn.
Thanks for your time.