Inspired by their passion for the most basic need of mankind, food, the individuals on this list have found intriguing and innovative ways to make food that much more appealing. From discovering new methods of cooking and pioneering innovative fusions of different cultures to studying a plethora of food cultures and creating a billion dollar empire with food as it’s fuel, these celebrity chefs have cooked up more than a few fancy dishes; they have masterfully marketed themselves as more than chefs, as brands. Experts of their craft, they have managed to establish themselves as culinary royalty along the way. Check out the five richest celebrity chefs below.
5.Wolfgang Puck-Net Worth: $75 Million
Puck was born in Austria but moved to Los Angeles when he was 24 years old. Under the influence of his mother who worked as a pastry chef, he developed a love for cooking at a young age. Once in L.A., Puck became co-owner of a restaurant called Ma Maison. His first cookbook, published in 1981, was based on the recipes he prepared in his L.A. restaurant. The following year, Puck opened another restaurant, Spago, on the Sunset Strip. Spago was widely successful and after some time, demand grew for another location. In 1997, Puck opened a Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. After decades of restaurant management, he experienced great success and was able to create a culinary enterprise, Wolfgang Puck Companies which is comprised of three branches: the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. and Wolfgang Puck Catering. Puck’s companies hold twenty fine dining restaurants, numerous catering companies and more than 80 Wolfgang Puck express retail stores that sell food merchandise, cookbooks and canned foods. If having a culinary conglomerate is not impressive to you, perhaps the fact that Puck is the official caterer of the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball will be. He has also made several television appearances on shows including Iron Chef and Cooking Class with Wolfgang Puck on the Food Network.
4. Gordon Ramsay – Net Worth: $118 Million
Born in Scotland, raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, proving that Shakespeare is not the only renowned man from the small town, Ramsay originally had plans of a successful career in football. After a career ending injury in 1984, he decided to go to school for hotel and restaurant management. Early on his culinary pursuits, Ramsay displayed a great deal of natural talent. He was fortunate enough to train with some of the most highly influential chefs in the world, namely Marco Pierre White of London, Albert Roux also of London and Guy Savoy of France. By 1998, 31 year old Ramsay opened his first restaurant in London, which he named after himself. Not long after opening, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay earned the prestigious three Michelin stars. What are Michelin stars, you ask? The French company, Michelin, yes the same company who sells tires, produces what is called the Michelin guide. As the oldest and most trusted reference of European restaurants and hotels, only the who’s who of establishments achieve such an honor. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has maintained its three Michelin stars longer than any other London restaurant. Gordon owns more than a dozen restaurants internationally. He has also written a total of twenty-one cookbooks and starred in numerous television cooking shows including Hell’s Kitchen (2004-present), Kitchen Nightmares (2004-present) and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course (2012-present). Known for his ferocious temper and extreme perfectionism, Ramsay’s television shows have helped solidify his place as a household name.
3.Paul Bocuse-Net Worth: $185 Million
Lover of all things French, Paul Bocuse was born in Collognes au mont d’or, France in 1911. As a descendant of a long line of family chefs, Bocuse was destined to be a culinary juggernaut. In 1958 he took over his father’s restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collognes which was highly successful. Under his father’s management, the restaurant had earned three Michelin stars and it still maintains those stars to this day. No other restaurant has maintained three stars as long Bocuse’s family restaurant has. Bocuse also owns a small chain of French bistros in Lyon. He established a cooking institute in 1990, the Paul Bocuse Institute which is also located in Lyon. Perhaps Bocuse’s biggest accomplishment is his contribution to the study of French food and culture. More specifically, the evolution of nouvelle cuisine which is a modernized approach to cooking and food preparation. Nouvelle cuisine emphasizes lighter fare and more elaborate presentation which is a departure from the classic ideas of French food. When asked about the secret to his longevity and success, Bocuse attributed it to the fact that his restaurants’ offerings have not changed much over the years. It’s obvious that Bocuse has found a formula that clearly works and he does not intend to alter it anytime soon.
2. Jamie Oliver-Net Worth: $235 Million
Over the past decade, Oliver has revolutionized the food world with his simplistic methods of cooking and his emphasis on healthy eating; and he’s not even 40 yet. Born in England, Oliver grew up around food. His parents owned and operated a popular pub and he was always there helping and learning. By the time he was 16, Jamie was attending culinary school. Jamie eventually landed a job at the River Cafe in London; it was there that he was discovered. After being featured in a documentary about the well known restaurant, Jamie was offered his own television show on BBC. The idea behind Jamie’s show, The Naked Chef, was to prepare and present food in its purest form, free of additives, growth hormones or processed chemicals. Not long after landing a deal with BBC, Oliver signed a $2 million endorsement deal with United Kingdom Supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s. Specializing in Italian cuisine, Oliver also published a cook book of the same name that featured many of the recipes he prepared on his show. BBC picked him up for two subsequent seasons as well as two other follow-up cook books. With over a dozen television shows, specials and appearances on his resume, Jamie has used his celebrity status to bring attention to the issue of processed foods, specifically in the British school system. In 2005 he started a campaign called “Feed Me Better,” which was focused on eradicating junk food from lunches in British schools.
1. Alan Wong-Net Worth: $1.1 Billion … with a B!
What kind of food can equal billion dollar profits?! Apparently island fusion food can! This Tokyo born chef is one of the founding fathers of popular culinary movement, Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. In 1991, Wong and twelve other chefs collaborated to create an innovative new way to incorporate the culinary cultures of all eight Hawaiian islands. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Hawaiian Regional Cuisine has become largely popular among the island’s people. Wong emphasizes the importance of finding and perfecting the most modern methods of food preparation in his three restaurants. Chef Wong has gained quite a bit of notoriety for his culinary works; these include an appearance on The Food Network’s hit competition cooking show, Top Chef. He has won numerous awards including the Chef of the Year award by Sante Magazine in 2001. He was also chosen to cook for the annual picnic for members of Congress and their families in 2009 which was hosted by President Obama and took place at the White House. Wong has written two cook books: New Wave Luau (2003) and The Blue Tomato (2010). His three restaurants are The Pineapple Room and Alan Wong’s King Street in Oahu, HI as well as Alan Wong’s Hawaii in Tokyo Disneyland.