August’s Book To Live By

In our latest members-only podcast, I spoke with restauranteur Mary Kenworth about the profound challenges the industry faces today.

She noted some celebrity chefs she respects, not only for their cooking skills and magnificent restaurants, but also for their powerful voices in advocacy for this vital business.

I’d like to add to that conversation a chef I admire for her impassioned voice and daring vision as well as her innovation and creativity in the kitchen. Dominique Crenn is the first female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin stars and an inspirational leader in the restaurant community.

It is my pleasure to announce that our August Book To Live By is:

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn with Emma Brockes (*paid link).


Crenn was adopted as an infant by a French politician and his wife. From their alluring life outside of Paris and summers on her grandmother’s farm in Brittany, she gained a love of food and a passion for cooking. But when she applied to French culinary schools, she was discouraged because “the role of the chef as artist was reserved for men.”

So, in 1989, with no formal training and barely speaking English, Crenn moved to San Francisco. She began a life transformation by recognizing her own lesbianism. She took jobs waitressing and introduced herself to top people in the industry, including renowned chef Jeremiah Tower, who became her first mentor.

In another step in her evolution, she became executive chef in a hotel in Jakarta that allowed her to build a staff of women. She began her activism for female entrepreneurship.

Her celebrity got a jolt when she won a competition on TV’s “Iron Chef.”

She opened the first of her celebrated restaurants when she was 45, about which she said, “Sometimes I get the sense that women over forty aren’t even supposed to be visible. Well, with respect, screw that.”

Crenn’s advocacy includes a strong connection to nature. She works with local organic farms for sourcing and, although she is “not quite a vegetarian,” she strongly restricts using meat and fish over ethical concerns and her belief in sustainability and equality for all life.

Crenn writes with candor about the obstacles and challenges along her path, including a breast cancer diagnosis. But her positivity and resilience always shine through. Her philosophy is “There is no failure in life, only opportunity.”

I know you will eat up the delicious stories in this Amazon Best Book of June 2020. I enthusiastically recommend Rebel Chef (*paid link). You will find wisdom and inspiration on every page.

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support to help you through this troublesome time. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!


*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.