1. Gordon Ramsay – $38 Million
Probably the angriest chef on a television show, it’s obvious that his dedication to detail has paid off, making him the highest-earning chef in the world. He hosts Hell’s Kitchen, owns 23 restaurants across the world and has also just opened a steak house in Las Vegas at the Paris casino hotel. He also wants to set up in a restaurant in India, with Mumbai on his radar. Look at his plans for the city.
2. Wolfgang Puck – $20 Million
A famous guy among Hollywood royalty, Puck made sure the Oscar invitees were fed well. He sits on a company that is home to about 20 fine dining restaurants and 80 Wolfgang Puck Express locations. Incidentally, Puck made it big in the industry when he introduced his fresh take on pizza.
Lately he has introduced an app that includes recipes and links to his restaurants to help with party planning.
3. Paula Deen – $17 Million
A native of Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen is known for her love of butter and the deep fried cooking that’s traditional in the American South. She has had a long-running partnership with Smithfield Foods and owns 17 different licensees and covers a range of good living products. Paula has authored 14 cookbooks, and lately she introduced a line of furniture too.
4. Mario Batali – $13 Million
Batali sits on a culinary empire with Italian traditions, that spans from in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas to Singapore. Among his accolades, he was “Man of the Year” in the chef category by GQ Magazine way back in 1999. And then in 2001 he took home the D’Artagnan Cervena “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America,” which is a prestigious food industry lifetime achievement award. Mario has authored nine cookbooks to date.
5. Alain Ducasse – $12 Million
With his motto being “Savoir-faire, faire-faire et faire-savoir” which means expertise, to-do and know-how, he can take credit for a number of restaurants under the same name. The Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester holds three stars in the Michelin Guide. His other properties include Alain Ducasse in London and Le Relais and Le Louis XV in Paris. And he’s spreading his knowledge through his network of European hotels and has a Parisian cooking school.
6. Todd English – $11 Million
When he’s not busy cooking for the jet set, he is inventing dishes. He wanted to patent a new type of rotisserie grill that moves skewered chickens not just in one direction around a spit, but also around the grill and the spit itself. He is best known for his restaurant, Olives, Boston and Las Vegas. Todd English Enterprises includes over 20 restaurants spanning across USA. He also has his own cooking show, Food Trip with Todd English.
7. Nobu Matsuhisa – $10 Million
Famously known as Nobu, the celebrity chef is known for his fusion cuisine – blending traditional Japanese dishes with South American (Peruvian) ingredients. His signature dish is black cod in miso. He is the chief proprietor of Nibu, Mastuhisa and Ubon restaurants located across three continents.
The chef partnered with actor Robert DeNiro, and thus opened Nobu sushi restaurants in New York, Dallas and Moscow. Now he plans on opening an entire Nobu hotel inside Caesar’s Palace in Vegas later in 2012.
8. Bobby Flay – $9 Million
Born in Long Island, New York, to a former model, Michael Kors was exposed to the world of fashion from an early age. As early as ten, he designed clothes and sold them from his parent’s basement, and at eighteen he enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Like other very successful designers (see below!), he quit after short afterwards and decided to rely on his talent and flair instead.
He initially sold his designs from a small boutique across from Bergdorf Goodman on 57th Street, before catching the eye of the luxury department store’s fashion director. It hasn’t been a smooth run for Kors, who went bankrupt in 1993, but he has subsequently bounced back and is now one of the world’s few billionaire designers.