The world’s most famous and richest chefs are much more than just chefs, they are brands. They are represented by more than their delectable dinners. Most of these famous chefs have their own television shows, product lines and books. In fact, several of them no longer actually cook at a restaurants because they are too busy running chains of restaurants, filming television shows, penning cookbooks and appearing on talk shows.
The national average for an executive chef is $71,000 a year. That amount is nothing to sneeze at, but the big name chefs are raking in millions. Cooking shows are now among some of the most popular shows on TV. Shows like Cutthroat Kitchen, Master Chef, Cupcake Wars, Greg’s Grocery Games and Top Chef are raking in the dough while making the chefs who appear on them big time celebrities.
In the past, chefs were people behind the scenes who worked in hot kitchens, but today many of them are in front of cameras watching others do the cooking. The world’s top cooking shows have turned several chefs into well-known celebrities and their celebrity status has put them on the millionaires list. Let’s take a look at 12 of the richest chefs in the world.
12 Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain is a world-renowned chef, as well as being a best- selling author and an Emmy winning television celebrity.
Bourdain is the star of the Travel Channel’s No Reservation. The show also airs on the Discovery Channel and the Living Channel. Bourdain graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and was the master chef in several restaurants including Brasserie Les Halles. In 2000, Bourdain penned Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. The bestselling book launched his career as a celebrity. In 2005 he began hosting No Reservation and in 2013 he joined CNN, where he is the host of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Bourdain is estimated to have a net worth of $6 million.
11 Ana Quincoces
Ana Quincoces is known as Miami’s Hottest Chef. She grew up helping her mother in the kitchen and that is what inspired her to become a chef. Wanting to represent her Cuban heritage, Quincoces penned the cookbook Cuban Chicks Can Cook. Her book sold out in bookstores and led to her appearing in newspapers, television shows and magazines. Quincoces’ second book Sabor! A Passion For Cuban Cuisine, was also a big seller.
She is preparing to release her third book and is the spokesperson for IMUSA, which is the number one Cuban cookware brand. The cookware is sold in more than 10,000 stores across the globe.
10 Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson is far more than just a chef. The London born celebrity is also a journalist, book reviewer, critic, television personality and broadcaster. Her introduction to cooking came from her family, who owned J. Lyons Company, a food and catering business.
In 1998 she published her first cookbook How To Eat, which sold more than 300,000 copies. In 2000 she penned How To Be A Domestic Goddess. The book won her British Author of the Year Award. In 1999 she began hosting her own cooking show Nigella Bites. She has also hosted the television shows; Nigella’s Feast on Food Network and Nigella Express on BBC.
Lawson has her own line of cookware called Living Kitchen, and her net worth is estimated at $15 million.
9 Paula Deen
Paula Deen is the owner of the Lady & Sons restaurant. She is one of the world’s most famous chefs. Deen has penned fourteen cookbooks. Deen began her cooking career with a home business called The Bag Lady, but it quickly outgrew her home kitchen, so in 1991 she opened a restaurant called Lady. In 1996 she opened the restaurant Lady & Sons with her boys. Finding great success, Deen opened The Paula Deen Buffet in 2008. By 2009 she had her own dessert line that was being sold in Walmart stores.
Deen self-published two cookbooks; The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cooking and The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cooking 2. She has appeared on QVC and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Deen hosted her own cooking show on the Food Network called Paula’s Home Cooking. She went on to host two more Food Network shows, Paula’s Party and Paula’s Best Dishes.
In 2015, Deen launched the Paula Deen Channel on ROKU. Deen’s estimated net worth is $16 million.
8 Mario Batali
Mario Batali is a master chef, restaurant owner, writer and television personality. He co-owns several restaurants in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City and Singapore. At the age of 27, he was the sous chef at Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara. He opened Po, a popular restaurant in New York that saw great success. His restaurant's popularity led to him getting his own show on the Food Network called Molto Mario. The show aired from 1996-2004.
He received a four star review from the New York Times, becoming the first Italian restaurant to receive four stars in more than 40 years. His estimated net worth is $25 million.
7 Ina Garten
Ina Garten is most well-known for her Food Network show The Barefoot Contessa. She is an author as well as a former member of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Garten had no formal training. She taught herself to cook using cookbooks. Cookbooks by Julie Child were among her favorite. Her career as a chef began with her gourmet food store, the Barefoot Contessa. She went on to write several cookbooks, magazine articles and she created her own “convenience products.”
Garten’s cookbooks have all been bestsellers. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook has had three printings. Her net worth is estimated to be $44 million.
6 Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse is known for his hit Food Network shows Emeril Live and Emeril’s Essence. He graduated from Johnson and Wales Culinary School. In 1979 he became the executive chef at Dunfey’s Hyannis Resort. He began to receive real recognition when he became the executive chef at the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Lagasse’s jovial personality and catch phrases, “Kick it up a notch” and “Bamsi,” made him a household name. In 2009, Lagasse became a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. He made a guest appearance on Jon & Kate Plus Eight and was the voice of Marlon the Gator in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. His net worth is estimated to be $50 million.
5 Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is a celebrity chef, television host, business owner and author. She has hosted the show Rachael Ray and the Food Network shows; 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels and $40 a Day.
She is the author of several bestselling cookbooks and launched her own magazine called Everyday With Rachael Ray, in 2006. Ray has won three Daytime Emmy Awards for her shows. Her cooking career has been focused on simple recipes. Most of her recipes can be completed in 30 minutes or less. Ray has had no formal training and has called herself “unqualified” for any job that she has had. Her net worth is estimated to be $75 million.
4 Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck is one of the most recognized and respected chefs in the world. Puck is a chef, restaurant owner, writer and actor. Born in Austria he learned to cook from his pastry chef mother. His restaurants have been listed in the Top 40 Restaurants since 2004. He owns 20 fine dining restaurants, catering services, and 80 Wolfgang Puck Expresses. He has his own line of products, which includes canned foods.
His acting credits include appearances on Frasier, Las Vegas and a cameo in The Weatherman and Tales from the Crypt. His net worth is estimated to be $75 million.
3 Gordon Ramsey
Gordon Ramsey is as well known for his hot temper as he is for his cooking. The Scottish born chef owns four star restaurants and has a long list of television shows. His television shows include Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, The F Word and Master Chef. Ramsey’s business dealings include restaurants, consultancy and television shows.
In 2006, he won the Independent Restaurateur of the Year award. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Ramsey’s flagship restaurant, has been in London’s top restaurants for eight years. Ramsey was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013. His net worth is estimated to be $175 million.
2 Paul Bocuse
Paul Bocuse is a French chef who owns several restaurants. He has spent his entire career stressing the importance of using fresh vegetables. He is one of the most respected chefs in the world.
His restaurant Auberge du Pont de Collonges, is one of only a few London restaurants to ever gain a 3 star rating. Bocuse was also the creator of truffle soup, a favorite of fine diners. In 2011, Bocuse was honored with the Culinary Institute of America’s Chef of the Century award. Bocuse is considered the ambassador of modern French cuisine. His net worth is estimated to be $185 million.
1 Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver is the richest and youngest chef on the list. Born in 1975, he is a chef, television personality and restaurateur. He is best known for his food-focused TV shows. He has penned several successful cookbooks and has created a global campaign for better food education.
He created the campaign Feed Me Better in 2005. The campaign was created to help British children have healthier food choices and to help them cut junk food from their diets. He had his own cooking show called The Naked Chef, then went on to do a cooking show called Return to Jamie’s Kitchen. His net worth is estimated at $400 million.