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
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 source: New Orleans. Though he has several restaurants in the area, NOLA is an accurate representation of the food in the New Orleans, as well as Emeril's own style. Expect to pay around $45 per person with appetizers, entrees and desserts.
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
5 Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill - Las Vegas, Nevada and Nassau, Bahamas
4 Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa - London, England
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.