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Top Three Highest-Earning Celebrity Chefs

Chef HatForbes.com recently published their list of the Top Ten Highest Earning Celebrity Chefs, which top billed Rachel Ray, Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay.  Here’s a piece about the three highest earning celebrity chefs in town, featuring their beginnings and their money-spinning ventures that allowed them to make it to the list.

If you want to find some more proof of how the world evolved in recent times, you can look at how chefs have changed in the last ten years.  Chefs now have assumed a more glamorous, sophisticated image, gaining far more recognition away from their kitchen or restaurants.  Celebrity chefs have become one of the top earners in celebrity world. Industry experts say that the fame of celebrity chefs has made people more conscious of the food that they eat and gets them to be more fascinated with the art of cooking.  Let’s be inspired with the stories of the top three highest earning chef celebrities in our society today:

3rd Placer:  Gordon Ramsay, 7.5 million

Gordon Ramsay is a Scottish chef who grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.  He entered Catering College at 19, and started donning a chef’s hat when he worked as a commis chef at one of the many restaurants in England.  Although he claims that he was drawn to the culinary world only by accident, he did decide to pursue his cooking education seriously after having worked in several restaurants in England and studied French cuisine.  He started to get exposed to several Michelin-starred chefs when he worked in Paris.  By 1998 he got to open his own restaurant in Chelsea, and achieved several Michelin stars as well.

These days, Gordon Ramsay’s empire is continuously growing, opening restaurants in England, Dubai, Japan, New York and Ireland.  His flagship restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was consistently voted as London’s top dining place for eight years.   Other than being one of the highest earning chef celebrities in town, he also has a lot of accolades to boast about.  Among his many recognitions is the Catey Award for “Independent Restaurateur of the Year,” as well as having been named as the most influential person in the UK hospitality industry.  His television involvement attracted a lot of negative publicity for him, where the press has tagged him as being “foulmouthed” and “short tempered.”

2nd Placer:  Wolfgang Puck, $16 million

Wolfgang Johannes Puck (born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig) is Austrian-American.  He learned cooking from his mother who was a pastry chef and as early as 14 years old, he already started to get formal training in cooking.  He worked in several great restaurants in France before coming over to Indianapolis in 1973.  He later moved to Los Angeles in 1975, and was instantly recognized for his talents by the Hollywood elite, which later on led him to become a part owner of Ma Maison in West Hollywood.

Now, Wolfgang Puck still wears his chef’s hat in visiting his vast domain of 21 fine dining restaurants and 12 casual dining spots.  His other ventures include 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise, including cookbooks and canned foods–allowing him to get included in the list as one of the highest earning chef celebrities in the world today. He parlayed his fame into movies as well.  Among his many accolades is receiving Michelin Stars for his flagship restaurant Spago, as well as a James Beard Foundation Outstanding Service Award.

First Placer:  Rachel Ray, $18 million

Our top earner is Rachel Ray (Rachael Domenica Ray), who was brought up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.   Her interest in food was greatly influenced by her family who owned four restaurants in Cape Cod.  Even when they later moved to New York, her mother continued to manage restaurants.  One of Rachel’s first jobs was managing the fresh foods grocery department at Macy’s.  She later became a buyer at Cowan & Lobel at a gourmet market in Albany, where she had a chance to teach a course on how to prepare meals in less than 30 minutes.    This paved the way to her first TV stint in 2001, the 30 Minute Meals.  And she has not stopped since then.

These days, Rachel glamorously puts on her chef’s hat in her appearance in three Food Network programs: Tasty Travels, $40 a Day and Rachael’s Vacation. She is also the producer of Food Network’s Viva Daisy!   She has a self-titled talk show, Rachael Ray, in addition to her own magazine, Every Day with Rachel Ray.  All these, on top of her many product endorsements, allowed her to bag the top post as the highest earning celebrity chef in town.