They inhabit the same territory as rock stars, but for celebrity chefs the stage is a kitchen. Instead of guitars, they wield whisks and wooden spoons. Their philosophy is simple, food is their lives. Live performances are a booming business for men like Gordon Ramsay, host of Hell’s Kitchen. In it, he reduces chefs, experienced or not, to quivering globs of jelly with his flaming f-bombs. Others like Jamie Oliver have unique nicknames. In his case it’s the naked chef because of his method of taking the most basic elements of a dish and recombining them into something wonderful. The following chefs have built massive empires and are multi-millionaires.
A native of Scotland, he’s clearly not the warm and fuzzy type. However, there’s no doubt he’s an expert at what he does. He is one of just two chefs in the U.K. to hold three Michelin stars and his restaurants are located in Tokyo, Los Angeles, London and Cape Town, all of which are quite successful. As difficult as he can be to get along with, he has pulled failing restaurants, some of them horribly mismanaged and/or unsanitary, back from the edge of bankruptcy in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
A jovial chef hailing from Fall River, Massachusetts, he is most notable for his catchphrases including, ‘Bam!’ and ‘Let’s kick it up a notch,’ usually when adding or getting ready to add something pungent to a dish, respectively. He has appeared on the Food Network on Emeril Live and the Essence of Emeril programs, cooking up delicious Cajun and Creole dishes in front of extremely hungry studio audiences. His restaurants are located in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida.
This man has taken a somewhat different approach to the preparation of food and cooking in general. Realizing the harm created by the junk food industry, he launched the Feed Me Better campaign to focus the British public’s attention on the unhealthy foods that are eaten by kids in U.K. schools. Before that, he took fifteen disadvantaged teenagers and hired them to work in his non-profit restaurant named Fifteen. These charity establishments have since opened around the world.
Well known for his huge restaurant empire, Puck started his culinary career by working in the posh Los Angeles restaurant Spago back in 1982. Today, he owns fifteen other fine dining brands, including Chinois and Cut and the Source. Wolfgang Puck Express outlets can now be found in Canada, the U.S. and Japan. He has also authored several cookbooks.
Along the same lines as Jamie Oliver, she started a non-profit charity called the Yum-O! Organization to fight childhood hunger in the U.S and to help children and their families eat healthier foods. She has four Food Network programs, among them Tasty Travels and $40 a Day, along with a magazine titled Every Day with Rachael Ray. She doesn’t own any restaurants, but all of the media exposure and numerous endeavours have helped her accumulate huge sums of money.
This list isn’t based on net worth but these are some of the top earning chefs in the world. They have all charted their careers in vastly different ways and have made themselves rich and famous.