For many people, food is more than just a biological need but a completely different experience. Some chefs are so passionate about food they dedicate their lives to creating new sensory experiences. These chefs spend their entire lifetimes opening restaurants and building their brands. As a result, these chefs have become international icons and are respected by even those with a casual interest in food.
10. Anthony Bourdain
It’s hard to believe that the world renowned chef, writer, and television personality Anthony Bourdain’s career started out with him washing dishes as a college dropout. He is now one of the most popular travel and food personalities. Although he is no longer officially a chef, his career spanned several decades. He was a chef at elite restaurants in New York such as the Supper Club, Sullivan’s, and One Fifth Avenue.
Bourdain has written several successful novels about his culinary adventures. His shows are well known by his comedic and often profane commentary. He is also famous for the travel and food series No Reservations. Bourdain also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
9. Paul Bocuse
French chef Paul BOcuse is a legend in France and all over the world. Now 91, he has served as mentor to many other world renowned chefs. He is famous for being one of the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine, a form of cooking that focuses on high quality ingredients instead of richness like the traditional cuisine classique. His most famous restaurant is l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, which has received a three star Michelin rating.
Bocuse has created the Institute Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance to teach students from all over the world. It unites 13 universities throughout the world and sends its best students to a course taught by Bocuse himself.
8. Alain Ducasse
Alain Ducasse is a an idol in the world of French cuisine. He is the first chef to have three restaurants with three Michelin stars each. He began his career as a chef for the Hotel De Paris in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Revenue from Ducasse’s restaurants exceeds 15 million per year.
Ducasse has opened many successful and innovative restaurants in his lifetime. He has earned 21 total Michelin stars. He has also been featured on the famous TV show Masterchef.
7. Emeril Lagasse
Although many elite chefs are only known by name to the public, Emeril Lagasse’s loud and larger than life persona has made him an international icon. Catchphrases such as “Bam!” and “kick it up a notch” made him a hit with audiences from the beginning.
His cooking style is a fusion of Creole and Cajun which he calls “New New Orleans”. His television appearances, restaurants, and endorsements earn over $150 million in revenue per year.
6. Vikas Khanna
Most famous Chefs are American or French, but Vikas Khanna is one of the first Indian Chefs to receive international acclaim. Since 2011, his main restaurant Junoon in New York City has received a Michelin star. Khanna has also collaborated with many other famous chefs.
Vikas Khanna is known for creating the most expensive cookbook in the world. The book was created over a span of 12 years and details the rich history of Indian cuisine. The book costs $13,000, and only 12 have ever been made. Khanna has personally gifted it to famous people including Queen Elizabeth.
5. Marco Pierre White
British star chef Marco Pierre White permanently changed the way the world looked at food. By the age of 33, he had won three Michelin stars, making him the youngest chef to do so. He blends classical British, French, and Italian cooking together to create his unique style.
Marco Pierre White has been featured on popular shows like Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen. White returned his stars later in his career, citing negative impacts on his personal life. He is nonetheless highly respected.
4. Heston Blumenthal
Most chefs primarily focus on their food being beautiful and delicious. Blumenthal is one of the first chefs to take a scientific approach to cooking. He also creates food that interacts with all of the senses. His unique approach to cooking has earned his restaurant, the Fat Duck, three Michelin stars.
The British chef’s advocation for a scientific understanding of food has earned him a spot as fellow in the Royal Society of Chemistry. Blumenthal has also pioneered many unique recipes. He is known for pairing food with molecular similarities together, even if such pairings seem bizarre.
3. Wolfgang Puck
After moving to the USA at age 24, Austrian celebrity chef and culinary innovator Wolfgang Puck was inspired. He created his own unique style of cooking that blended Italian and American cooking styles together with Californian ingredients. His first restaurant, Spago, received a large amount of critical acclaim.
Wolfgang Puck has released multiple cookbooks and appeared on many popular cooking shows. He has even acted in famous TV shows. In 2017, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2. Jamie Oliver
British star Jamie Oliver is an icon in Britain and beyond. Unlike most chefs, his style of cooking is primarily British. His personality and skill have earned him numerous endorsements and millions of dollars. He is primarily known for his cooking shows and advocation of healthy eating.
In 2002, Oliver released the five part series Jamie’s Kitchen. He is also the creator of The Naked Chef. Jamie Oliver has also pushed for healthy eating in schools. Oliver was the face of British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s until 2005. He has been featured in hundreds of commercials.
1. Gordon Ramsay
With a staggering net worth of over 60 million dollars and an unparalleled international reach, Gordon ramsay is by far the most successful chef in the world. His restaurants have received a total of 16 Michelin Stars. Ramsay is known for his fiery hot attitude and zero tolerance approach to incompetence in the kitchen.
Despite his seemingly angry persona, Gordon Ramsay keeps his cool outside of the kitchen. He has actually retained 85% of his staff since the beginning of his career. He has also been married since 1996 and has five kids. Ramsay is the first chef to appoint female head chefs (Clare Smith and Angela Hartnett) to a restaurant with three Michelin stars.