For our fifth anniversary, Jon and I stayed in San Francisco and ventured into the Marina district to try Dominique Crenn’s restaurant, Atelier Crenn. The restaurant opened two years ago in January 2011. Last year, Crenn became the first female chef in America to earn two Michelin stars as she joined the ranks of only five other Bay Area restaurants to achieve the honor in the 2013 Bay Area Michelin Guide.
Dinner was fantastic! Crenn's tasting menu is actually a poem, where each line of the poem represents a different course. We had the poem in front of us so we could follow along, but didn’t know what any of the courses would be before we got them. The food was delicious and uniquely presented, sometimes disguised as things one might find in the forest. Incidentally, the highlight of the meal was Crenn’s signature dish called “A walk in the forest”: an assortment of mushrooms (Maitake, Porcini, etc.) served on top of meringue infused with pine and sprinkles of green Thai-basil salt. As if the evening wasn’t special enough already, we got not one, but two visits from Chef Crenn herself to wish us a happy anniversary and to make sure that we were being cared for. In all our years of visiting Michelin-starred restaurants, this was the first time we got to meet the chef!
This was my second time shooting in a restaurant with my new, full-frame D600. The ability to shoot in low light on the D600 was really tested this time. It was dark (exposures were f/1.8, around 1/30th, and ISO 6400)! However, I felt the D600's focus was accurate and the ISO 6400 images cleaned up nicely in Lightroom. I shot with my 50mm f/1.8 this time; at Cyrus I used the 24mm f/1.4. On a full frame camera I don't think either is ideal for restaurant food photography. The 24mm is a bit too wide and the 50mm doesn't focus close enough. I wrote a little more about this in this gallery's blog post.