E-Student Logo

Tackling Chef Crenn’s MasterClass as a Vegetarian Cooking Newbie

Embarking on a culinary journey as a vegetarian with minimal cooking skills might sound like a recipe for disaster. This is me, through highs and lows, attempting to translate Chef Crenn's celebrated techniques into my humble Asian kitchen.

E-student.org is supported by our community of learners. When you visit links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Dominique Crenn teaches Modern Vegetarian Cooking: Our Verdict (2024)


4.3 / 5

As a new vegetarian who, to say the least, struggled in the kitchen, this course became both a challenge and an opportunity. Chef Crenn's MasterClass on Modern Vegetarian Cooking is not just a recounting of recipes; it's a course in self-expression. My journey with Crenn, with all the zest lingering from taking Roy Choi’s MasterClass, stands as a testament to the idea that even the most unseasoned home cook can find inspiration in the expertise of a world-renowned chef.


  • Narrative approach
  • An avant-garde take
  • Novelty workbook
  • Culinary showoff
  • Insights into a renowned chef's kitchen


  • Complex techniques
  • Western cooking emphasis

Money-Back Guarantee
Try out MasterClass with no risk
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Applicable for all MasterClass annual subscriptions
No, Thanks

Taking on Chef Crenn’s Modern Vegetarian Cooking MasterClass felt like stepping into uncharted territory, especially when I was armed with nothing but my newfound vegetarian status and a questionable track record in the kitchen. Inspired by the spirit and techniques gleaned from Roy Choi’s MasterClass (see my review here), I took on the challenge of translating Crenn’s celebrated culinary artistry into my humble Asian kitchen. Before we dive into the detailed review, let me share that some tears, indeed, were shed in this journey. Nevertheless, this course, which I believe was not particularly designed for someone like me, turned out to be more than a compilation of recipes—it became a narrative of personal transformation and self-expression.

Let my kitchen chronicles be your entertaining guide to boldly exploring the vast and delicious world of vegetarian fare, even if you’re not exactly Gordon Ramsay in the making. So, fellow veggie enthusiasts and kitchen newbies, buckle up for a candid and flavorful adventure (in which, I swear, tears were kept to a minimum).

Dominique Crenn

Table of Contents

Who is Dominique Crenn?

Meet Dominique Crenn, the culinary wizard whose Michelin stars shine brighter than my kitchen light on a good day. Born in Versailles, Crenn is the brain behind Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, a place where food becomes an art form.

First female chef with three Michelin stars

Picture this: while I debate between ordering takeout or attempting the culinary masterpiece called “microwaved leftovers,” Crenn is crafting dishes so exquisite they make my attempts at avocado toast look like a preschool art project. With her French charm and culinary prowess, she’s not just a chef; she’s a food poet, turning ingredients into symphonies that put my kitchen catastrophes to shame. Her intimate relationship with nature, culture, family, and cooking, and her sensational, ultimate bond with every ingredient in touch, was what I admired most about her and this course.

Get ready for a journey into the world of Dominique Crenn, where three Michelin stars are just a warm-up, and the kitchen is a canvas for culinary masterpieces and self-statement (or at least a good attempt at not setting off the smoke alarm).

Culinary masterpieces of Dominique Crenn

Who is this course for?

  • Vegetarian enthusiasts: If you have a passion for vegetarian cuisine and a desire to elevate your cooking skills in this domain, Chef Crenn’s MasterClass is tailored for you. The course delves into the nuances of crafting modern vegetarian dishes, offering valuable insights and techniques.
  • Cooking novices seeking transformation: If you’re a cooking newbie setting out to transform your kitchen skills, this course provides a unique opportunity. Chef Crenn’s engaging and almost poetic teaching style, coupled with a variety of lessons, makes it accessible for those taking their first steps in the culinary world. Though I must say, it can be challenging at times, especially if you’re not familiar with Western cooking, as the techniques used are rather essential.
  • Admirers of Chef Crenn’s style: If you appreciate Chef Crenn’s culinary style and want an exclusive peek into her kitchen, this MasterClass is a must. Gain firsthand knowledge from a renowned chef celebrated for her innovative approach to vegetarian cooking.
  • Individuals looking for (vegetarian) culinary inspiration: Whether you’re stuck in a cooking rut or seeking fresh inspiration, this course offers a burst of creativity. Chef Crenn shares her expertise, encouraging you to experiment with new ingredients and techniques, adding flair to your culinary repertoire. Moreover, it can be a good start if you are seeking ways to add more veggies to your diet.

This course might not be the right fit for:

  • Those seeking quick and simple recipes: If you’re looking for quick and straightforward recipes for everyday meals, this course might not be the ideal fit. Chef Crenn’s lessons often involve complex techniques and creative processes, catering to those who enjoy a more involved cooking experience.
  • Individuals preferring traditional cooking styles: If you’re inclined towards traditional and conventional cooking methods, Chef Crenn’s avant-garde approach to vegetarian cuisine may not align with your preferences. The course emphasizes creative and modern techniques.
  • Busy individuals with limited time: For those with tight schedules and limited time for elaborate cooking sessions, the intricate nature of some lessons might pose a challenge. The course is designed for individuals willing to invest time and effort in honing their culinary skills.


Dominique Crenn’s MasterClass, spanning 14 videos with a total viewing time of 4 hours, explores her profound bond with food, unveiling the journey of her passion evolving into a renowned career that puts vegetables in the spotlight. Alongside the videos, MasterClass provides a very well-designed workbook of 76 pages, with some additional recipes that you may not find in the course.

Each dish on the menu comes with its own story and a hint of poetry
Every dish on the menu has its own story and a touch of poetry

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll explore:

  1. Meet Your Instructor: Chef Crenn invites you into her culinary world, sharing the roots of her profound connection to food and how this passion blossomed into a celebrated career that places vegetables at center stage. Delve into an overview of the class lessons, artfully structured as a tasting menu.
  2. Dominique’s Essential Kitchen Tools: Embark on a journey through Chef Crenn’s kitchen as she unravels the secrets behind her essential tools and specialized equipment for crafting modern vegetarian delights. Explore the pantry ingredients that always find a place in her kitchen, including a selection of herbs and flowers.
  3. TomatoEnhanced: In the first installment of three tomato lessons, advance your culinary skills by mastering the art of dehydrating tomatoes through blanching. Transform tomato skins into a flavorful powder, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of this versatile fruit.
  4. TomatoIlluminated: Building upon your blanching expertise, Chef Crenn guides you through the delicate process of confiting peeled tomatoes. Discover how to integrate tomato petals into an intricate dish, capable of standing alone or seamlessly fitting into recipes explored in subsequent tomato lessons.
  5. Tomato Evolved: Elevate your tomato mastery by learning the art of marinating tomatoes and crafting tomato water, which can be transformed into a delightful gel. Bring together your newfound tomato techniques to create an elaborate and delectable dish.
  6. Melon Enhanced: Chef Crenn demystifies the process of selecting ripe melons and takes you through the steps of cutting, marinating, and transforming them into delightful ribbons.
  7. Melon Illuminated: Uncover the versatile world of melons as Chef Crenn teaches you how to grill, roast, or cold smoke this refreshing fruit, adding new dimensions to your culinary repertoire.
  8. MelonEvolved: Continue your exploration of melon’s diverse forms, turning melon balls into unexpected shapes and creating melon water that can be transformed into a gel. Experiment with marinating and grilling melons, concluding with an elevated fruit salad.
  9. Leeks: Chef Crenn imparts her expertise in handling leeks, guiding you through the process of cleaning, confiting, and roasting them. Learn the steps to craft a warm vinaigrette and prepare a decadent béarnaise sauce for an elegantly plated dish.
  10. Mushroom: Discover the art of making a flavorful mushroom stock, a foundational base for creating a delightful dish incorporating vegetables, confit, and smoked egg yolks. Dive into the creation of mushroom foam and master the slicing and seasoning of mushrooms for a visually stunning presentation.
  11. Asparagus: Explore the delectable world of asparagus in three delightful approaches: poached in vegetable stock and grilled, thinly peeled with a mandolin, and blanched and grilled to perfection, served with crème fraîche.
  12. Seasonal Vegetables: Chef Crenn showcases how to craft a classic French comfort dish, Parmentier, using zucchini, onions, and carrots in lieu of meat. Learn the art of creating a silky potato puree to accompany the dish, topped with a generous layer of cheese.
  13. Cabbage: Unlock the versatility of cabbage as Chef Crenn teaches you how to sear and roast cabbage wedges, ferment sauerkraut, pickle mustard seeds, and concoct a potent parsley oil, resulting in a dish bursting with flavors.
  14. Cheese: In the French tradition, Chef Crenn introduces the final exercise of the course, crafting a cheese mousse to be elegantly served in stylistically cut lettuce, providing a delightful and palate-cleansing finale to your culinary journey.

What I liked about Dominique Crenn’s MasterClass

  1. Narrative approach: Chef Crenn’s MasterClass isn’t just a cooking tutorial; it’s a narrative of personal introspection. As someone with minimal cooking skills who sees storytelling as a lifestyle, I find the course so relatable and engaging.
  2. An avant-garde take: If you’re tired of mundane recipes and yearn for something different, this course will take you to the wild side of vegetarian cuisine. I could see how it can be an ideal fit for those seeking to explore innovative and modern culinary techniques.
Dominique Crenn considers herself a rebel
  1. Novelty workbook: The 76-page workbook is like the bonus content in a collector’s edition DVD—extra recipes, additional insights, and a touch of exclusivity. This alone helps enhance the overall value of the MasterClass.
  2. Culinary showoff: Whether you’re a vegetarian zealot or just want to show off your newfound cooking flair, Chef Crenn’s course provides ample inspiration. The course encourages experimentation with new ingredients and techniques. From manipulating tomatoes to crafting cheese mousse, this course is a variety show of vegetarian cuisine.
  3. Insights into a renowned chef’s kitchen: This is what I like most about this class. The lessons on essential kitchen tools and specialized equipment provide an insider’s view into Chef Crenn’s kitchen. And to be honest, the most valuable insight doesn’t lie in these tools, equipment, and techniques but rather in the intimate reasons why she chooses them, how she builds her kitchen – what she adds in, what she leaves out, and ultimately how she interacts with her ingredients.
Dish by Dominique Crenn

Drawbacks of Dominique Crenn’s MasterClass

  1. Complex techniques: Some lessons involve complex techniques that might be challenging for cooking newbies or those with limited time. Personally, at times, it made me feel like I’d entered the kitchen equivalent of an escape room. It is not recommended for those who believe cooking should be more straightforward than assembling IKEA furniture unless you want to try something different.
  2. Western cooking emphasis: The course assumes a level of familiarity with Western cooking styles, and individuals less acquainted with these techniques might find certain lessons challenging. This was what made the complex techniques even more complex for me as I’m more accustomed to non-Western culinary methods. For instance, what do you mean I gotta have a thermometer?

Main takeaways

If you couldn’t tell already, I struggled a lot throughout this course, which took me so much longer to finish than expected. I put down cooking in my 2024 resolution, inspired by Roy Choi’s MasterClass. With Crenn’s, on the contrary, it’s my daily debate between “I can do it” and “Why am I doing this to myself?”. I must say, however, that it has been a rewarding challenge that has changed my perspective on vegetarian cooking.

As I navigated halfway through the course, finding myself unreasonably frustrated with this whole new cooking practice that I had gotten myself into, I knew that I had to do something different and more personalized. The most valuable thing I got out of this course was the reminder to embrace the seasonal ingredients and build my own sentimental bond with my own food.

So, I took a deep breath and reminded myself of why I started this course in the first place: to elevate my newfound interest in (vegetarian) cooking, be more mindful of food, and impress myself. Then, I wiggle a little with the recipe, take notes of the techniques introduced by Crenn, and start working with what I have. As I started to stop resisting the unknown and actually got myself to the cooking part, it was a lot of fun. So, instead of a ricer or smasher, I used my fork and spoon for the smashed potato. Instead of Fleur de sel or comté cheese or names of ingredients I can’t even pronounce properly/have never heard of, I simply use whatever is available in my humble Asian kitchen. And instead of blanched asparagus, which is not a very common vegetable here in my country, I made a pretty decent blanched spinach salad (and surprised my parents with glazed carrots).

The process of preparing blanched spinach and glazed carrot

And, (and!), I think I have made a successful attempt at Crenn’s Parmentier (I made my boyfriend show off my cooking on his Instagram story and refused to take any ‘constructive’ comments)

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

Conclusion: Is Dominique Crenn’s MasterClass worth it?

Despite my own touch of sarcasm in this review, Dominique Crenn’s MasterClass might just be your cup of tea… or rather, your plate of deconstructed vegetable symphony. Sure, you’ll encounter some challenges along the way, like deciphering complex techniques that make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a culinary escape room. And let’s not forget the assumption that you’re already fluent in Western cooking styles – because who needs a thermometer, right? But hey, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves (and maybe shed a tear or two), you’ll find Chef Crenn’s avant-garde approach to vegetarian cuisine both enlightening and entertaining.

From her narrative-style teaching to her intimate kitchen insights, you’ll be treated to a feast for the senses, even if your cooking skills are more microwave than Michelin. And while the course may not be everyone’s cup of broth – sorry, bouillon – for those daring enough to venture into this uncharted culinary world, it’s a journey worth taking. So, if you’re ready to elevate your cooking game and embrace the chaos (and occasional existential crisis) of the kitchen, this course might be for you.