Decades ago, before Food Network or daytime cooking shows, celebrity chefs were rare. Few people were famous for cooking, and Julia Child was just about it at the time.
With the upsurge of food-centric cooking channels, food magazines and a wide array of cookbooks, we now have the celebrity chef. What makes a chef a celebrity? These chefs are household names. They appear on cooking shows, judge amateur chefs during cooking competitions and assert their authority in the culinary world.
Unfortunately, few of us ever get to try the food we see expertly crafted by a celebrity chef. Most of their work is on TV. However, these chefs also have restaurants in large cities around the world. If you’re traveling to the area, why not eat at a restaurant owned by a celebrity chef? If you’re lucky, you may even get to eat food prepared by this celebrity!
Read on for our list of 10 celebrity chef-owned restaurants that you should visit during your next vacation.
10. Robert Irvine’s Nosh – Bluffton, South Carolina
Robert Irvine, an English celebrity chef, is best known for his television shows on Food Network. You may have caught him on Restaurant: Impossible and as a judge and mentor on Worst Cooks in America. In addition to being a television personality, Robert also has several culinary awards and honors, including an induction into the Culinary Hall of Fame. Next time you’re soaking up the sun and surf in South Carolina, visit Robert Irvine’s Nosh–a gourmet burger restaurant. Unlike the small plates featured at most of the restaurants on this list, Nosh is all about comfort food and filling portions. A dinner featuring a side dish and burger/entree will run you around $30 per person.
9. Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA – New Orleans, Louisiana
Emeril Lagasse was the talk of the town in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He had a popular cooking show, Emeril Live, and even had a catchphrase: “Bam!” Although his popularity has waned, he’s still a figurehead in the culinary world. He earned a James Beard Foundation award in 2013 for Humanitarian of the Year. If you want to try his signature Creole and Cajun cuisine, then go to the
8. Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu – New York City
Nobu Matsuhisa is one of the most popular and world-renowned Japanese chefs. He has four cookbooks and has won an award from the Japan Society for his achievements in food. Nobu started his restaurant career in the late 1980s, but it was the opening of the flagship Nobu restaurant in the New York City TriBeCa neighborhood in 1994 that really made him a celebrity chef. In fact, New York’s Nobu even has a Michelin Star. Nobu is open for both lunch and dinner and serves sushi and other Japanese cuisine. A dinner at Nobu, featuring an entree, sushi and dessert, will easily run you at least $100 per person.
7. John Besh’s August – New Orleans, Louisiana
You might find John Besh on TV’s Top Chef or Iron Chef America. He won a James Beard Foundation award in 2006 for Best Chef in the Southeast. He’s even started the John Besh Foundation to help New Orleans heal and grow after Hurricane Katrina. It seems only fitting that you visit John’s restaurant in New Orleans. While he has eight restaurants around the United States, August features the high-class experience you might be looking for in your travels. Featuring contemporary French cuisine, August offers dinner all week with a Friday lunch menu. Dinner at August averages just over $70 per person.
6. Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante – New York City
Mario Batali is a seasoned American celebrity chef. He started his culinary career in the 1980s, learning tricks of the trade in the United States, France and Italy. Mario has appeared on TV shows such as Mario Eats Italy, Iron Chef America and The Chew. He’s a Culinary Hall of Fame inductee and received the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in New York City in 2002. If you want to try his cuisine and you’re planning a trip to New York City, make a stop at Babbo Ristorante. Babbo won the James Beard Foundation award for Best New Restaurant of 1998 and features “elevated” Italian cuisine. An average dinner bill at Babbo is around $80 per person.
5. Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill – Las Vegas, Nevada and Nassau, Bahamas
Bobby Flay is most known for his television work. He’s acted as a host or celebrity judge on many food-centric shows, including Boy Meets Grill, Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, Iron Chef and The Next Food Network Star. Besides utilizing his TV persona, Bobby demonstrates his cooking chops with two James Beard Foundation awards. The next time you’re trying your luck in Las Vegas or soaking the sun in the Bahamas, don’t miss Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Mesa Grill, which earned a Michelin Star in 2008, features Bobby’s signature Tex-Mex-style cuisine. A full meal featuring an appetizer, entree and side dish could easily run you $100 per person.
4. Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa – London, England
Jamie Oliver has become quite the celebrity chef. The English chef started his cooking career in the early 1990s but quickly made a name for himself in the world of television and cookbooks. He’s had countless shows, including The Naked Chef and Jamie’s Kitchen. He’s also created quite a stir by championing for healthier school lunches for children around the world. Though he has many restaurants, you won’t want to miss Barbecoa in London. Barbecoa utilizes fire in its cuisine, offering a high class menu not often seen in a steak restaurant. Expect to pay £70 or $117 per person for a dinner that includes starters, an entree and a side dish.
3. Grant Achatz’ Alinea – Chicago, Illinois
You may have to make your reservations at Alinea well before your trip to Chicago. That’s because this restaurant is not only owned by celebrity chef Grant Achatz, but he also commonly acts as the head chef there, creating the masterful dishes. Grant uses his skill–which has earned him five James Beard Foundation awards–to create the dishes himself. Alinea is so successful that it’s one of only two restaurants in Chicago with three Michelin Stars. It was also voted the sixth best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine. Though the menu rotates, a typical meal could cost around $200 per person.
2. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago – Maui, Hawaii
Although he was only inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013, Wolfgang Puck has been a celebrity chef since the early 1990s. His restaurants have won him a James Beard Foundation award and an induction into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. Although Wolfgang has more than a dozen restaurants around the world, why not enjoy the tropical environment surrounding Spago in Maui, Hawaii? Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Spago is a AAA Four Diamond restaurant with ocean views. Expect to pay $200 or more per person for the Asian contemporary cuisine, including appetizers, entree and dessert.
1. Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – London, England
Gordon Ramsay is best known for his brash attitude in the kitchen, as well as his successful television shows Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. Though he’s certainly become a TV personality, he has the awards and accolades that prove his worth as a celebrity chef. In 2006 he won the Independent Restaurateur of the Year award from the Catey Awards and he was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, located in London, England, is his flagship restaurant. Since it opened in 1998, it has earned three Michelin Stars. It features traditional French cuisine and a seven-course meal will run you around £135 or $225 per person.