Summertime and Veuve Is Sipping Easy

Michelin-star Chef Dominique Crenn hosts a culinary journey with Veuve Clicquot at her San Francisco atelier

Words by CATHERINE BIGELOW
Photography by DREW ALTIZER PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Dominique Crenn
Dominique Crenn.

 

To celebrate the summer release of La Grande Dame Rosé 2015, prestige cuvée of Veuve Clicquot, this storied maison joined forces with Chef Dominique Crenn on Wednesday, June 26, for an incomparable insider feast.

The poetically themed (The Rising Sun, Innovations, L’Art du Pinot Noir, Kenavo) extravaganza included 13 exquisitely crafted small plates that paired perfectly with a variety of La Grande Dame bubbles. Yet midway through this sensuous supper, a collective silence descended like a misty San Francisco fog across three long tables adorned with a riot of peonies (in the hue of Veuve’s signature pink and yellow label) at Atelier Crenn.

Savoring a thrilling composition of crab and avocado, accompanied by a delectable tomato broth derived from the crustacean’s shell that was kissed with lemongrass, there were no words. Tastebuds had been transported to the seashore, where a salty breeze infused a zen appreciation among diners for the meticulous umami layers of depth and complexity Crenn achieved.

 

Veuve Clicquot

 

As the first female chef in the United States to garner three Michelin Stars, Crenn exudes a joyful rock ’n’ roll aura, but her playfulness should never be confused with a casual kitchen. Crenn is a new-era innovator of global cuisine, inspired by the taste memories of farm-to-sea-to-table freshness in her native Brittany. She is also a poet, an Iron Chef star, and champion of equity — and this dinner benefited La Cocina, a food industry incubator nonprofit that supports women, immigrants, and people of color.

Since 2019, Crenn, a breast cancer survivor, creates her menus exclusively from seafood, augmented with vegetables and edible flowers sourced from her Bleu Belle Farm in Sonoma.

Dinner cohost Adriana Angulo, Veuve Clicquot head of marketing at Moët Hennessy, noted that Crenn’s esprit perfectly pairs with the trailblazing Madame Clicquot. The 27-year-old widow was a rare 19th-century female entrepreneur: She developed the first vintage champagne and a rosé blend, and she transformed her late husband’s wine business into this storied house of champagne.

“For this release, we thought about who embodies a modern-day ‘La Grande Dame,’ a great lady, with Madame Clicquot’s bold vision. Our collaboration with Dominique is inspired by her,” Angulo said. “She’s an amazing creator: Everything she brings to the table is imbued with a pioneering energy that is also very San Francisco.”

 

Dominique Crenn, Veuve Clicquot guests
Adriana Angulo, Tamara Rojo, Maria Bello.

 

Among grateful guests at this private soirée: actor-producer Maria Bello, who wed Crenn, her longtime love, and celebrated their April marriage with friends at a Mexican fiesta in May; San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo; tech entrepreneur David Shimmon; Christie’s San Francisco managing director Kathryn Lasater; landscape artist Lily Kwong; Qatalyst Partners’ Nadir Shaikh; C Magazine editor Jenny Murray; interior designer Jay Jeffers; and San Francisco’s own grande dame, Denise Hale.

“Madame Clicquot took over an empire that was not really an empire and started to build something magnificent. A woman with maybe not a lot of experiences, but the willingness and the creativity and the love of doing something beautiful — that speaks to me,” toasted Crenn of her collaboration with Veuve. “San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in America. There are a lot of bad things in the media, but we are here to stay. And as a woman, I’m here to make the city better every day … with champagne!”

The corks continue to pop this week on July 12 and 13 at Petit Crenn, where Veuve Clicquot presents a six-course Crenn dinner and champagne pairing for gourmet gurus.

 

Dominique Crenn, Veuve Clicquot guests
David Shimmon, Adriana Angulo, Dominique Crenn, Autumn O’Keefe, Tamara Rojo.

 

Maria Bello, Dominique Crenn
Maria Bello, Dominique Crenn.

 

Dominique Crenn, Veuve Clicquot guests
LEFT: Lily Kwong, Jenny Murray. RIGHT: David Shimmon, Denise Hale, Nadir Shaikh, Kathryn Lasater.

 

La Grande Dame Rose
La Grande Dame Rose, Veuve Clicquot.

 

July 10, 2024

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