Chef Dominique Crenn: Leading with Love In and Out of the Kitchen - Jen Hatmaker

Chef Dominique Crenn: Leading with Love In and Out of the Kitchen

Episode 06

If you’ve seen her on the Netflix series Chef’s Table, you know Chef Dominique Crenn is filled with equal parts talent, love, and creative whimsy. Dominique is the chef-proprietor of Atelier Crenn, the San Francisco restaurant she opened nearly a decade ago. And last year Dominique became the first female chef in America to earn three Michelin stars, the highest honor in the food world, all with an eye toward connecting with her guests and ensuring all feel welcome in her space. Raised in the Brittany region of France, Dominique moved to California in her twenties, looking for a sense of purpose, and talked her way into the glitzy kitchen run by acclaimed chef Jeremiah Tower—except Dominique had never cooked in a professional kitchen before. Today she and Jen talk about the ways leaders can help their teams thrive, how women can become advocates for each other, and why it’s so important to care for the earth as much as it cares for us.

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people every week on this podcast. Thanks for listening! We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:   Hey, everybody. It’s Jen Hatmaker here, your host for the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show today. I’m happy you’re here, really.

We’re in a series right now called For the Love of Powerhouse Women. I think it speaks for itself. We are talking to some of the most powerful women in their fields, and across the board. We have interesting women in business, and we have them in public service, and all across really a lot of genres.

But today, you’re going to already know right away why I’m excited, because we are speaking today to one of the most successful female chefs in the entire world. I’m pretty excited. I had to take some deep breaths before I started recording this episode, because I was so nervous to speak to her.

You may have seen her episode on Chef’s Table, or been super lucky enough to eat in one of her restaurants. If so, then you’ll know why I am so excited to have Dominique Crenn on today. Ahh!

Dominique is the chef proprietor, owner, creator of Atelier Crenn, which is—get this—the Michelin three-starred restaurant in San Francisco. Just in case you don’t know what that means, Dominique is the first woman in the U.S. to ever earn three Michelin stars. It is literally the highest honor in food. It would be like winning Best Actress and Best Director and Best Picture all into one. It is rare air to even earn one star. That is rare. But to earn three, well, it’s obviously unprecedented.

So Dominique grew up in Brittany, which is on the west coast of France, which influences a lot of her cooking. And then of course her parents had a strong influence on her and helped shape her love of food. She was adopted, we’re going to talk a little bit about that. So she began really working in food when she moved to San Francisco in her 20s, and you’re going to like this story. She basically talked her way into working at a superstar restaurant with an uber-famous chef, and she had zero culinary experience. I ask her about that in a minute.

Dominique is literally food royalty, and so if her talent wasn’t enough, she has this wonderful, caring heart. And she is a very strong advocate for innovation, and sustainability, and equality, and for women. You’ll hear all that just pull right through that matters to her so much.

I don’t know if you saw her episode on Chef’s Table. It’s on Netflix. But if you want a good cathartic cry, just go watch it. She’s not just smart, but she’s whimsical and funny. And you know how much food means to me, and so speaking to somebody at her level is just a real honor today. And she has this beautiful French accent, which you are completely going to love for the duration of this episode, and you’re just going to be glad to know her. You’re going to be glad to meet her, if you’re not already following her.

So I’m excited to introduce you to the very powerhouse woman, indeed: chef, advocate, and creator, Dominique Crenn.

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Jen: It is a real pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the show, Chef Dominique Crenn. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Dominique: Oh, thank you so much for having me.

Jen: You are a real force, and I’ve been paying attention to your career for some time, and have watched a lot of stuff with you and read a lot of your writing, and of course seen your episode on Chef’s Table. And it is really exciting to talk to a woman who is so powerful in the restaurant industry, which is typically a man’s world. And I’m really just thrilled for your success, thrilled for it. You deserve it.

I’ve told my listeners a little bit about who you are, but if you’ll indulge me, I’d love to roll back just a few years to your roots, which of course was in Brittany, France, where you’re from. I think probably to understand what it is you do and the way that you look at the world, and then ultimately the way you look at food, we probably need to understand a little bit more about your background.

You were adopted by your wonderful parents when you were 18 months old, so I wonder, how did growing up with that knowledge in the family that you were adopted into shape the way that you look at the world, and maybe even at the way you view people and connect with them?

Dominique: Well first, yes. So I was born and raised in Versailles, this is where my parents adopted me. We lived outside of Paris but we [were] separate. My parents are from Brittany but I spend a lot of time during my holidays.

So you have to understand that when a little girl or any child that is born is kind of suspended, it’s just . . . there’s no really love around. And when two people come and really want to give you love and take you, of course you have to embrace it.

So I look at the world with my parents’ eyes, with a lot of beauty and a lot understanding about things that could be different. And it’s really about love and respect for your surrounds, so that’s what I was taught at a very young age. The fact that they inviting into their home, not someone that they met but someone that they choose because they loved that little girl. So I think that’s beautiful.

For me, it was very important. People, love, respect, understanding, being curious, and I think that’s what I took this idea and the image is how I live my life.

Jen: Yeah, I see that imprint on your work and the way that you connect with your staff and your customers. Our youngest two kids are adopted. They are Ethiopian.

Dominique: Oh, great.

Jen: Yeah, it is. And so with that, we also got to receive their culture and their food and their heritage. It’s just been a real joy for all of us, really. We’re all lucky. Adoption is just a really beautiful way to build a family.

So you moved to the U.S. from France in your 20s, which was a pretty massive decision with obviously life-changing consequences. I wonder, what do you think that move did to your sense of place? And how long did it take you to feel like, Okay, this city where I’m at now, because you moved a little bit, This is where I belong. This is my space, my place, my people. This is home for me.

Dominique: Well, I’m a little bit of a gypsy, but I was trying to find a place. I love France. This is where I was born, this is where my parents are from, and this is where I spent 20 years of my life.

Jen: Right.

Dominique: But I was needing to find a sense of purpose and a sense of place for myself. Coming to San Francisco, I felt a freedom and an excitement that I’ve never felt before. I knew the second I got out of the plane that, This is special, this is something. I need to be here. It was kind of like some type of calling.

Jen: Yeah.

Dominique: Then when you start to talk, see a little bit of San Francisco, very complex city, very inclusive on everyone. It doesn’t matter where you come from, the color of your skin, your religion. Everybody is welcome there, and that’s what I think I needed because I grew up in that. So I grew up with the inclusivity and the love and the non-judgment. And San Francisco had that, so I felt at home.

Jen: I love this piece of your story because when you moved to San Francisco, it’s almost funny that you got a job in the kitchen at Stars, which was a superstar restaurant, run by superstar chef, Jeremiah Tower, is of course so famous. What’s funny to me and shocking is that you had no restaurant experience.

First of all, where did you find the confidence to go in there and ask for a job? And second of all, how did you get it? I am so curious how you talked yourself into that job!
Dominique: Yeah, no, I’d never cooked in a restaurant and I didn’t go to school for it. But I had a sense that I had understanding of food and you can highly connect people with food and food is also a language. And I wanted to kind of explore that, to be able to have a voice, to give a voice to people who don’t have a voice.

So I did work for chef Jeremiah Tower who used to work for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. He got a lot of accolades when he was there. And then he opened this restaurant called Stars, which, at the time, was kind of a novelty in San Francisco. One of the biggest American brasserie, open kitchen. You could see people cooking, kind of bistro-style. Very French, but very Californian and American.

And then he was also a chef that believed in the now and the surrounding and the farmers and to write a menu everyday with whatever was available was very much a novelty at the time. “Hey, I’m a chef, I need to cook what my farmers give me and I need to support my community around me.” So I was super interested in that.

And so I went and walked into the kitchen and he was standing there dressed beautifully, a very beautiful and tall man, and very, very stylish. Literally he could come out of a a 1940–50 movie.

I just said, “Excuse me, my name is Dominique and I would like to work with you.”

He looked at me and was like, “Do you have a résumé?.”

I was like, “No, I don’t. I would like to learn with you. I’m French and I know how to cook.”

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: And boom, that night I worked on the grill with Chef Sean and then the rest . . .

Jen: Did you?!

Dominique: Yeah, they put me on the grill that night and then I worked there for a couple of years and that was it.

I think what I knew would be that I need to have the guts and I needed to have the confidence to put myself out there and to ask the question, “Will you hire me?” And what I realized at a very young age if you’re scared about things, and you don’t do things, and you don’t ask questions, you will never get where you want to get. Even sometimes the answer’s going to be no. It doesn’t matter, you still have to ask the question. And when you do that, whether it’s a yes or no, you have the ability to really know that you are a confident person. And then you want to go somewhere. So you need help sometimes and not be afraid about that. And not being afraid about being rejected either.

Jen: Absolutely, I think that’s fantastic advice for all of my listeners, whatever their field is, is that with that question that question that you asked, you created something powerful in your life. You created opportunity for yourself by taking that risk.

Dominique: Absolutely.

Jen: By walking in the door and saying something absurd like, “I just want to work for you and I don’t have a résumé and you should hire me anyway,” and he did it! Which, obviously, is a really important piece of your story.

Jen:  One thing that I love that I have heard you say is you went on to work at a variety of other restaurants and it just wasn’t right for you, you just weren’t happy in it, it wasn’t bringing you back to life. And so as you were thinking about creating your own restaurant, you said, “I have nothing to lose.” I mean, just that simple and that plain.

And I wonder if you can talk a little bit more about that specific time, from the time you had the idea of your restaurant and you, kind of, grabbed onto the idea like, “I have nothing to lose, so let’s go for it.” And then what it was like from there.

Dominique: Let me rewind a little bit. In 2009, I had an accident where I almost lost my life. This was when I was thinking about, I had been thinking about Atelier Crenn since, I would say, 2005. Maybe before that. So in the accident, I almost lost my life. And I was working at the time for a big corporation, which I was the fabric and the rockstar at one point. And then I got in my accident and then everything kind of faded away.

I realized at this moment I had absolutely nothing to lose. I’m on my bed, I’m going to be there for three months.

Jen: Yeah.

Dominique: I almost lost my life too. I’m lucky to be here. I have nothing to lose. It’s the recession in the United States . . .

Jen: Oh, that’s right. Of course.

Dominique: You know, the crisis. And I’m like, I don’t care, I’m going to do it. I’m going to find a spot. I don’t have any money. And I’m going to do it.

Jen: Gosh.

Dominique: My pastry chef was with me and he was like, “Let’s do it!”

And I said, “I want to create a space where it’s not just a restaurant, but everyone’s going to be welcome. People will not be numbers. People will have a name and will have a voice. And I want to create a space where we could exchange ideas with everyone, especially with the customer, and bring them something that has come from me and my soul and hopefully connect that way.”

We opened up Atelier Crenn in . . .

Jen: 2010?

Dominique: 2011.

Jen: ‘11, yeah.

Dominique: I had no money.

Jen: Yeah.

Dominique: But we got the space. And the space was owned by Gavin Newsome, who is the governor of California right now.

Jen: Oh, okay.

Dominique: So look at me! I’m nobody and I have no money and I’m taking this and I’m making it my own.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: And now it’s 2019 and it took us 9 years to be there, to get where we wanted to be and it’s amazing.

Jen: It is.

Dominique: We went through struggle, and we went through . . . I cried sometimes, but I’d look at my team and it’s like, You know what? I hired them and they believed in me. I can’t let them down.

Jen: That’s so good.

Dominique: We have to push.

Jen: Yeah. I love watching you with your team. We got, sort of, this behind-the-scenes look at the way that you manage your team on your Chef’s Table episode. And of course you’ve been with Juan since the beginning and then you built a team around you guys and it was pretty mesmerizing watching the way you move around a kitchen with one another. It’s almost like a ballet. And I can only imagine how much time and skill it takes to build rapport like that and how many times, maybe, you false start, or have to sort of recalibrate or reinvent the way that you are working together. And then even just to find team members that you trust, who are just as committed as you are.

So I’m curious . . . because you’ve obviously figured this out. You’ve dialed it in. What do you think is the key to your management success? Because, of course, running a beautifully successful restaurant like yours isn’t just about the food. It’s also about you staff, and it’s about the kitchen, and it’s about your customer. So, how do you go in and inspire your team every day? Like how do you push them to explore? How did you develop this winning team like you have right now?

Dominique: The first thing, I think, for me was to make sure that whoever was applying for a job needed to understand who we are. So the number-one thing to look at [as a leader] is you have to create a plan for your team as far as how much you’re going to pay them. You also make sure they have benefits. You make sure they’re well taken care of first, and that they know this is a company that takes care of their own employees first.

Jen: That’s good.

Dominique: And that’s what I wanted to make sure. It’s all about respect, exchange, learning, and always encouraging each other.

I also make the time to get to know each of my employees on their own. The history, their family, where they’re from, if there’s anything I should know. Just to keep that conversation very open. I don’t want people to walk into the place and think that’s just work work, nine to five, and they can’t say anything. I want them to be passionate. I want them to be alive. I want them to engage. It’s like a family.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: You’ve got to create an ambience. And it’s about respect and no yelling and no being disgraceful to anyone. It’s not about ego, it’s not about you’re better than the other. It’s about working together. It’s really about togetherness.

Jen: I mean that, obviously, is why your crew is so loyal to you, because you kind of described the opposite of a lot of fine-dining kitchens where it is about ego, it is about yelling and, sort of, fear. And that culture’s just not sustainable. I mean, it can definitely produce some beautiful food in the short-term, but it’s not sustainable for a person’s soul. I really admire your leadership style, and it makes me all the more glad for your success, to know that you care for your employees like a family. That’s so special.

I know that restaurants hold a dear place in your heart. It’s where you, obviously, create so much from not just dishes, but to memories. Food is memories, of course. It’s like a literal family there.

So I’m curious where you find your inspiration outside the doors of your restaurants because your food is so beautiful. It’s so artistic and gorgeous. So inspired, obviously. Where do you go for that? Where do you find inspiration? Where do you get your creativity from?

Dominique: My creativity and inspiration is from my life and my memories, also things that I visit or it could be the present, it could be conversation. It could be a museum. It could be a movie or a documentary or an experience right now. You know that I’m going through cancer treatment right now.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: And I’ve been so creative about things right now. Writing menus and writing ideas. Also writing ideas to use what’s happening right now to maybe better a way of life of others. I mean, it’s just incredible. Like, give me, you know, opportunity to think about other things. Food markets or restaurants, I don’t get inspiration from that. I get inspiration from beauty, from art, from nature, from people. This is where I kind of get a lot of my inspiration.

The menu we have right now, I wanted to go back to the root of California and the story of California. I connected to more of that. Everything is about the California coast. So that was very important.

And also, I’m writing some book about Native Americans and how they were dealing with food and the food system. It’s been very interesting.

Jen: Oh, wow. What a great project. You’re writing that right now?

Dominique: Yes.

Jen: Oh, gosh.

Dominique: Because I think we are in a beautiful country called America, but we have to remember that we were not there a long time ago and there was a lot of bad things happening. So it’s nice to welcome that and hear their story.

Jen: That’s right. That’s exactly right.

I admire you for a lot of reasons, not just your talent and your passion, but you have accomplished so much on behalf of women in your field with three Michelin stars. It’s just such rare air. And so not only do you have that such an elite credential, but you also received the National Order of Merit, which is the highest citizen honor in France. The work that you’re doing on behalf of women and on behalf of your country of origin are just really amazing.

I also love watching how you pull other women up and you spotlight their abilities. Again, which is not necessarily indicative of the way your industry works, which is sometimes just competitive. Everyone is your competitor. And yet that is not how you approach it, like it in your Women of Food chef series.

So I’m curious, which women are you admiring right now, both inside or maybe outside of your field. Either. And who else do you think is doing a great job of reaching out and pulling them up? Sort of standing alongside one another?

Dominique: My industry needs still a lot of work.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: We have a lot of way to go and I feel that it’s not there yet. I think, in general, I think we need to look equal pay for women that also this is where we need to start, that a woman is as secure as a man.

Jen: That’s right.

Dominique: That we have the same skills, we have the same way . . . that we can be even better than them sometimes. And we can be better in some area, maybe.

Jen: Right.

Dominique: I don’t know, it’s just that we need to start there and we need to give the woman the same rights.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: And the way that we’re going to change things, I think, and also teach our children, our young daughters, that they can do anything they want in life, that everything is possible because there is a world out there that is for them. Not just a restricted world, you know.

Jen: That’s right, that’s right. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I spend my whole life working on women’s empowerment and equality, and that is central to my work also. So that is why, for me, it’s so . . . I’m proud to watch you because I think what it’s going to take are women like you, who knocked some doors down and succeed wildly in industries that are typically dominated by men, like yours. And then they hold the door open for the women behind them. That is one piece of the puzzle. One piece of the puzzle is that until our industries and our cultures empower women, then we will empower each other.

Dominique: That is correct, that is correct.

Jen: Yes. We will make room for women, and we’re doing that.

Dominique: Yes. I want to call everyone, that the politicians also need to do that, you know. Everyone needs to do that. I’m sick and tired of, like, “Men should run the world.” It’s like, no! We need to be together, and when we are together we can do better things.

Jen: Yes, I mean, here here. You’re singing my song. I love when you talk about your dad. He obviously played such a huge role in who you are today.

Jen:  So you have five-year-old twins girls your own self, and I’m curious what parts of your parents do you want to pass on to them? What did you pick up from your mom and your dad or both that you are hoping to see in your girls?

Dominique: I think, [to] look at the world with equality, [that] there are a lot of different things in the world, and [to be] curious about [them]. Never think that you are better than anybody else because they don’t look like you. Just be open, caring, and loving—and also [care for] the planet, which is a very important part, the planet.

Jen: Yep, me too. That’s what I hope. I have five kids, and I hope they all learn all of that.

Dominique: Oh wow!

Jen: Yes, I know it’s a lot.

Dominique: Yeah, I mean, as a human we have been given the gift to be here. And it’s not just about us, but it’s also about the soil that we live on, that we have to take care of the ocean, the animals, and all that. We are all an equal system, and we have to understand we are as important as each other, you know. We have to be able to work with also the ecosystem on Earth.

Jen: I appreciate you saying that. Chefs are a really important teacher in the world of ecology and conservation because obviously that’s where your products come from, the earth. So I appreciate your care of the earth and your advocacy there.

I want to go back to something you said earlier. You mentioned that you are battling breast cancer right now. And if I may, I knew that and I’ve been watching you battle this disease and I’m in awe of the way that you’re doing it with grace and with grit and you wrote about it, in fact. And you wrote, “I could never have imagined that my life would include this turn because I have only experienced myself as invincible,” which was a really powerful sentence.

You’re a great teacher on how to approach life with open curiosity but with a touch of steel. So I wonder what you’re learning about yourself right now, in “this turn,” as you called it. And what are you learning about yourself? What are you learning about your family and friends and your colleagues? How have you all risen to meet this challenge together?

Dominique: I’m learning a lot, it’s pretty amazing. I think I welcome this in my life as a gift. And I knew that when I say, “I really thought that I was invincible,” I thought that my dad was invincible too.

Jen: Sure.

Dominique: But when you talk about invincible, it’s like, I’m still invincible. It’s just you look at a struggle as opportunity to look at a different view, different way of . . . it’s like it’s a window and you look through it and it’s like, Wow. There’s other things out there that I never thought about. 

So that got me closer to people. That made me realize a lot of things about life, and what matters, and what is important, and what is my purpose now. I have still a lot of work to be done and you know, when you have people that you’re taking caring of, you got to look at this gift,  I mean this disease that has been given to you. And then you got to take it with a lot of strength, but you wouldn’t be able to do it without the love and friends and family around you.

Jen: That’s right.

Dominique: So it’s important. And I know there’s a lot of women out there that are going through some of the same things I’m going through even harder, and they don’t have friends or family around. Maybe that don’t have the food they need to eat, they don’t have all of that. And that, we need to talk about that too.

And it’s important that people understand that when someone is sick with cancer, don’t go away, don’t run away from them. This is the most important time in their life and they need your help. And don’t look at them as pitied. Look at them as joy and they have so much more to do in this life. And help them through it.

Jen: I appreciate you saying that. Nobody in that position wants to be looked on with pity. But rather in solidarity, “Let’s get through this together.”

You mentioned that, sort of battling breast cancer clarifies what matters and your sense of purpose. I’m curious if . . . have you discovered a shift in your purpose at all? Or maybe just a clearing out of anything? Or has it condensed down to something a little bit smaller? I’m wondering if your purpose has shifted at all in this time.

Dominique: I think I was at the same purpose of humanity and people and bettering the world and be a voice for others. I always have that. I think my purpose now is to make sure that everything that I did can be impactful and can change the way that we think, [and] really focus on what I can give for myself, not to go all over the place because I have a tendency to want to change the world . . .

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: But, no, it’s just intensified. I have five-years-old, young, beautiful girls and what kind of world I’m going to give them? I need to be a part of the change right now.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: The climate change, the way that we do things, and it’s just like we can’t be greedy anymore. It’s not about money or how much money. We have kids that are here.

Jen: Yes.

Dominique: And we have to give them a beautiful world and beautiful planet. So let’s look at that and stop talking about other things that are nonsense. We have people here. What are we doing? You know, it’s like, let’s do that work now. It’s now, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday. It’s now.

Jen: That’s so good.

Dominique: Maybe it was yesterday, but . . .

Jen: Oh, that’s so good. That makes you so prime for leadership right now for the rest of us. I’ll tell you that it is delightful.

Dominique: Let me be the next president of the United States!

Jen: Please! Could you? I’ll run your campaign!

Dominique: All right, let’s do it.

Jen: So watching you live and create in the world is really great. It’s really delightful to see. And it’s going to be exciting to see what you do next.

So I’m wondering what’s sort of bringing you joy right now? What’s exciting for you? What’s next for you? I know you’re working on couple of new concepts as we speak, and I wonder if you can . . . can you tell us a little about them and what you’re hoping to build and create next?

Dominique: Yes. So the next project is going to be located in San Francisco in the Salesforce Tower, the bottom floor. It’s a boulangerie, patisserie, take-out, you know like in-and-out, kind of like coffee and we have a bar. I’m building a bar in the lobby. There’s going to be a bar that we’ll do just classic cocktails. So the idea . . . obviously I’m French, and I wanted to wake up in the morning and go get my croissant and coffee.

Jen: Yep.

Dominique: I couldn’t find the best one in the city. Which, there is some good ones and it’s like, Well maybe I should open my own.

Jen: Yes, I love it.

Dominique: But the idea is also to change consumer behavior and also the way that we’re building the space. It is up-cycled, which is a recycled material. We’re working with a drawer, architecture in New York. And this company called Miniwiz in Taiwan, where they up-cycle everything from plastic to glass to whatever.

Jen: Yeah, great.

Dominique: So we’re using that to build most of the restaurant. And consumer behavior . . . we’re going to have a little coffee shop. And it’s not going to be any cup to-go.

Jen: Okay, oh, I love this!

Dominique: So if you want to come, just come and bring your cup, it’s really simple. You bring your cup here from out there. Or you can buy yourself a cup that you can reuse, but I don’t want to give you trash.

Jen: That’s good. That’s great.

What’s it called, by the way?

Dominique: It’s going to be called Boutique Crenn.

Jen: Boutique Crenn. And when does it open?

Dominique: We are thinking about November but it might be, maybe, January.

Jen: Yeah, I know how that goes.

Dominique: Yeah, it’s been two years in the making and the city and the building and permit, this or that. But it will be open soon. And I’m writing, I’m finishing a book.

Jen: Yeah.

Dominique: It’s not a cooking book. It’s kind of a autobiographic, kind of memory book. I think it’s going to come out the end of the year or next year.

Jen: That is so . . . I can’t believe you’re fitting that in.

Dominique: Yeah.

Jen: I don’t know when you’re doing that.

Dominique: Yeah, I’m not sure either but it’s been in the works for over a year.

And then I’m still working on my own documentary from . . .  my friend’s been following me for a couple of years. I just want to do a project that matters. I want to find my way and obviously it’s going to be around definitely women and children and the planet.

Jen: I have no doubt. You have lots of work ahead of you still, and it’s inspiring to watch it kind of on every level.

Jen: So as we sort of wrap this up—again, thank you so much for your time today. These are three questions we’re asking all the women this week. Your episode is in a series about powerful women in their own fields. So we’re asking all of them these questions.

Here’s the first one. What’s something that a woman you admire has taught you that you’ve never forgotten?

Dominique: My God, so many people.

Jen: Oh I know, me too.

Dominique: I would say that’s my mom. And when you go through something very hard, always know there is a light.

Jen: I love that.

How about this? What’s your greatest hope for the generation of women coming behind us?

Dominique: The greatest hope for me is that every woman and young girl will grow up in this world and have the confidence that they are valued and they are also number one.

Jen: Me too. I’m also raising daughters, I feel the same way.

Here’s the last question and you can answer however you want. We ask all of our guests this question. This can be a serious answer, it can be a small answer, whatever you want it to be. It can be silly.

But the question is this: what is saving your life right now?

Dominique: Love.

Jen: From everyone?

Dominique: From everyone, yes. And looking at the next generation is saving my life. The love is saving my life right now.

Jen: That’s a perfect answer. I want to thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Dominique: You’re welcome, my pleasure.

Jen: Just for your work and the way that you do it. It’s not just that you’re putting out beautiful, impressive food, but the way that you are doing it is worth emulating. And I hope that there are so many young female chefs watching you and learning from you and taking inspiration from you right now. But frankly, you’re inspiring to everybody whether we’re in your industry or not. So grateful for your time today and proud of you and your work and just so thankful to have met you.

Dominique: Thank you so much for taking the time, and I’m so happy to have been talking to you. And thank you very much and I hope to see you soon!

Jen: See you, absolutely well. Thanks, Dominique.

Dominique: Thank you, Jen, bye.

Jen: Okay, you need to run to Netflix and download—download. That’s not how Netflix works. Go to Chef’s Table and watch Dominique’s episode because also, she’s strikingly beautiful. Really, really beautiful to look at, beautiful to listen to, and beautiful to watch. I love her episode.

In fact, as I was getting ready for this interview my college kids were here, and I saw her episode on Chef’s Table last year. But we were re-watching it, and I was saying, “I’m about to interview her.” And it was halfway through and I was coming back to start the interview and I gave the remote control. I’m like, “Here you go, you can watch whatever you want.”

They’re like, “Um, hello, we’re finishing this whole thing. Are you kidding me? We’re invested.”

I’m like, “Absolutely, she’s fascinating.”

And I want you to just see her food because, I’m telling you, you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s something between art and food. And so, however her mind things this stuff up . . . she is a true creative and innovator. And it was really exciting for me to talk to her. So incredibly accomplished, I mean, three Michelin stars. It’s so unbelievable. You’ll see why.

Anyway, more to come in this outstanding series. More women that you’re going to love to meet and hear from and learn from and be inspired by. So thanks for listening guys.

And thanks for subscribing to the podcast, keep doing that. If you haven’t already done it, go do it. It’ll take a dozen seconds. Subscribe and then just like that you’ve got us.

So on behalf of Laura, and Amanda, and my entire team, grateful to have such a phenomenal listening community. See you next week, you guys.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!

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