By: Kyrie Sismaet By: Kyrie Sismaet | February 14, 2023 | Food & Drink People Parties Feature Story Restaurants Wine and Spirits City Life Architecture Reviews News and Features Culture Neighborhoods Women of Influence Latest Movies Community Apple News
Atelier Crenn, San Francisco's renowned three-Michelin Star restaurant by award-winning visionary and culinary superstar chef Dominique Crenn has recently reopened with an awe-inspiring new update. In collaboration with talented film production designer Ethan Tobman of prior Academy Award-winning Room and Free Guy prestige, this strong partnership blossomed from their work together in Searchlight Pictures’ recent film The Menu, in which Chef Crenn aided him as chief technical consultant to masterfully present the movie’s stunning dishes.
Solidifying their meeting as, “written in the stars,” the dynamic duo have now brought such movie magic to reality, and at Atelier Crenn and Bar Crenn where Tobman’s redesign reflects Chef Crenn’s journey and personal connection with California’s nature. Along with an accompanying refreshing of her menu that inventively highlights the state's wildlife and bucolic beauty, this revamp recently unveiled in early February and adds yet more prestige to the Pacific Heights landmark.
“This is a new chapter, and this is a place of love and community,” Chef Crenn proudly emphasizes as she showcases the renovation at both Atelier Crenn and adjacent Bar Crenn, powerfully energizing the cozy spaces with charming positivity and heartwarming authenticity in her mission to share her love for her golden state through her cooking.
First opened 12 years ago with pastry chef and business partner Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn instantly garnered widespread acclaim and has since been a premier dining destination to experience Crenn’s artistry in crafting innovative and evocative cuisine that poetically reflects her childhood, evolving narrative, and deep reverence for nature. As the first woman chef to earn three Michelin stars in the United States in 2018, Chef Crenn’s trailblazing adventurous creativity and gastronomic precision has continuously propelled her into global fame, appearing in the Netflix documentary series Chef's Table, on Iron Chef, and also earning two James Beard Foundation Best Chef Awards and most recently a 2021 World's 50 Best Icon Award.
Fermented Leek Tart, Atelier Crenn
Such success all traces back to Chef Crenn’s distinct ability to invigorate her food with delicate, yet impactful emotions that reverberate her own, as showcased in her new 12-course Californian-inspired offerings. Foraging, cultivation, geography, history, culture, and progress are all of the aspects the new menu translates and uplifts, taking guests on a flavorful excursion that deepens their edification and appreciation for California through ingredients grown from Crenn’s Bleu Belle Farm. “California's multitude of cultures, flavors, and ideas is what drew me here," Crenn elucidates, elaborating, “this menu is an ode to the place that I consider home. I want guests to see the beauty that is California and I want to help tell the stories that are often untold.”
As for the space remodelings themselves, both Atelier Crenn and Bar Crenn supplement this tribute to Californian history, landscape, and culture through Tobman’s styling that thoroughly comprehends Chef Crenn’s interests and personality. “To be able to bring Chef Crenn's beautiful vision to life is such an honor,” Tobman gleams, “she is an inspiration to me and so many others.” By adding a 25-foot paper chandelier that simulates waves, a light tree mural, and other vivid and geometric Beaux-Arts aesthetics, Tobman seamlessly integrates Chef Crenn’s sleek and dreamy wabi sabi minimalism into a more apparent Californian microcosm, elevating her cuisine and atmosphere without overshadowing it.
Bar Crenn next door shows a different, more playful side with a greater upbeat feel through an eclectic bohemian and international-inspired music bar that also shines aspects from Chef Crenn's upbringing. Stepping in feels like you’ve been immediately transported to 1950’s Tokyo through the authentic Japanese artifacts on traditional shelving, the marble bar, towering interactive record wall, and swanky furniture. Such specific decor crafts a vintage-chic lounge that’s sophisticated yet casual, modern yet timeless, and intimate, both through the only five snug tables, and through displayed photos of Chef Crenn's childhood.
“We have to rebuild,” as Chef Crenn encourages, and for the last four weeks, she tirelessly has been. While Atelier Crenn is airy, clean, and bright, Bar Crenn is warm, wooden, and convivial, yet both perfectly capture Chef Crenn’s personality and vision in glorious cinematic proportions thanks to Tobman’s keen eye for detail.
Sourdough and Dutch Crunch Bread, Atelier Crenn
The Menu may have been a horror-comedy, but for Chef Crenn and Ethan Tobman, being part of such a topical and artistic film was an inspiring feel-good project. Atelier Crenn and Bar Crenn are true testaments to Chef Crenn’s incomparable culinary vision and pure unwavering love for both San Francisco and California's past and future, and the new style and food of the two locations will generate the same for you simply by stepping in. In the moving words of Chef Crenn as she finishes her speech at her premiere, “let’s do it!”
Photography by: Courtesy of
- Food by John Troxell
- Dining Room by Jason Bowman