Nader Khouri

Dominique Crenn became the first U.S. woman to win three stars at her restaurant.

Editor's Letter: Starring Dominique Crenn

The Michelin Guide began, as you’ll read in our feature, at the turn of the 20th century. It’s true that at that time most restaurant kitchens were led by men, but in this day and age, a growing number are led by women. And yet, just over a month ago, Michelin awarded its first three-star rating to a woman-led restaurant in the U.S.—Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, led by Dominique Crenn, who was the cover of our May 2017 issue of FSR.

Michelin’s San Francisco stars were announced just a few days before I sent our January content to the design team here at FSR. In the print world, we sometimes suffer in the shadow of the web’s instantaneousness. No matter how hard we try to time our content, take an angle unique to us, and go deeper, anything can happen in the two months we’re preparing it to hit your mailbox.

But, in this case, the questions raised in our feature are—I believe—even more relevant. When announcing Crenn’s achievement, even the New York Times saw fit to mention that the value behind Michelin’s stars has come into question these days.

“There is a growing sense in the culinary world that the kind of elaborate dining favored by Michelin—whether a four-hour kaiseki meal in Kyoto or a 40-course tasting menu in the Napa Valley—is dated and impractical,” writes food reporter Julia Moskin. “With so many competing lists and algorithms, along with constant waves of diners’ reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other platforms, Michelin may be less relevant than ever before.”

For our story, we talked to folks who said about the same. But as the Times follows up, and as our story will show you, for folks in the industry, the story is different. The stars are still the highest accolade to earn, and for Crenn it was more than well-deserved. Anyone who has seen Chef’s Table on Netflix knows Crenn’s dishes tell stories in the way every chef aspires to, with depth of flavor and emotion. At the very least we know Crenn is having her best year yet. If anything, I hope that her designation as a three-Michelin-starred chef is the beginning of something this industry will see more of.

In this issue we talk a lot about what this industry will see in the future, from the composition of the plates to the structure of the business. We’ve gathered all our tenacity toward trends and translated that into predictions that we hope will help you run your business better in the year ahead—not just better, but the best you can. Cheers to your best year yet!

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