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Celebrities in the Food Industry

Updated on April 12, 2013

Top 10 Celebrity Chef

Who doesn’t like to eat tasty and delicious meals? It can be difficult for those people who don’t cook often to cook a decent meal. So they might subscribe to monthly food clubs to help them get inspirations. Or people would like to watch cooking shows like 30 Minute Meals or Paula’s Home Cooking. Cooking shows have helped housewives and people to learn how to cook tasty meals. Here are ten of the most popular celebrity chefs who became a household name.


Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck

1. Wolfgang Puck earns $16 million annually. His rise to stardom begun at a Los Angeles restaurant called Spago in 1982. Spago was a hot spot for celebrities like Orson Wlles, Brad Pitt and Jamie Foxx. Puck owns over 15 fine-dining brands like Chinois and Cut and sells sandwiches at Wolfgang Puck Express in airports.


Wolfgang Puck Fettuccine Bolognese Recipe

Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray

2. Rachael Ray came to fame with her catchy phrase “EVOO” on her first Food Network show, 30 Minute Meals, in 2001. Since then she has added three more shows to the network including Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. Ray has a talk show called Rachael Ray with an average viewership of 2.6 a season. She also has a magazine called Every Day With Rachel Ray with over 1.5 million readers. She endorses Dunkin' Donuts to and in total she makes $18 million a year.

Rachael Ray Veggie Penne with Pesto

Paula Deen
Paula Deen

3. Paula Deen, the queen of Southern cuisine, draws in a large audience because of her robust personality. In 1996, she started a catering business making boxed lunches for local businesses and sent her sons to make deliveries. Deen was featured on an episode of Oprah talking about women starting a business in their homes. Appearing on the Oprah show was a huge event but it wasn’t until QVC sold 70,000 copies of her cookbook in one day that made her popular. Since then she has a cooking show in the Food Network called Paula’s Home Cooking.

Paula Deen's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay

4. Bobby Flay started out on the Food Network in 1994 and is famously known to be on “Iron Chef America,” a popular cooking competition show. He is also the host of show called The Next Food Network Start. He owns high-end and mid-range restaurants like New York City’s Mesa Grill and Bobby’s Burger Palace respectively. Flay also has written a dozen of cookbooks over the years and is an active philanthropist.

Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" Burger

Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse

5. Emeril Lagasse has a well branded empire which consists of restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows and charitable foundation. It is estimated that his empire is worth more than $70 million because of his hard work. He grew up working at a Portuguese bakery in his New England hometown and then enrolled in a culinary program at Johnson & Wakes University. At the age of 23 he was offered a job in New Orleans as the executive chef at the Commander’s Palace restaurant. In 1990, he opened his first restaurant and then in 1992, the Food Network scouted him to appear on their network. He has two shows called Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live. He is famously known to say the word “bam” while he adds finishing touch of spices like the Spanish paprika to his dishes on his show.

Emeril's "Bam!"

Julia Child
Julia Child

6. Julia Child is the first celebrity chef and has paved the way for the cooking show craze today. Child died in 2004 at the age of 91. With the publication of her cookbook on “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 1961, this has led her to host her own cooking show and became an international sensation. After the death of Julia Child, major motion picture released the movie “Julie & Julia” based on a book about a woman trying to master every recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The movie made a great impact to introduce her to new and future generation.

An Earlier Cooking Show of Julia Child

Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay

7. Gordon Ramsay is born in Scotland and raised in England. He takes life as a celebrity chef up a notch by owning a few successful restaurants around the world such as Boxwood Café and Petrus. He hosts a few popular cooking shows like Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef. Gordon Ramsay has also appeared in an episode of “The Simpsons” titled “The Food Wife” in an animated form.

Here's a Snippet of Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson

8. Nigella Lawson is born in London, England and the Food Network was smart to bring on Lawson as a television personnel. She undoubtedly attracted the male audience who likes to see a beautiful woman, an exotic accent and good cooking skills. Lawson has authored eight cooking-centered books selling more than 6 million copies worldwide. She’s doing amazingly well for someone who never attended culinary school.

Nigella Lawson on Jimmy Kimmel Show

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain

9. Anthony Bourdain is an expert French chef and is known for his honesty towards all things related to food and celebrity chef. Bourdain is the chef at Les Halles in New York City and has no plans to open any other restaurants anytime soon due to his age and hectic pace of the restaurant industry. Instead, he prefers to travel around the world as the host for Travel Channel’s series “No Reservations” and The Layover,” sampling and providing his opinions on a variety of international food.

Watch this Episode with Anthony Bourdain in Finland

Mario Batali
Mario Batali

10. Mario Batali’s success didn’t come as planned. He attended Rutgers University, majoring in Spanish theater and business management with plans of moving to Spain to be a banker. When he got a job as a dishwasher at Stuff Yer Face, and quickly moved up to pizza marker it was during this time he wanted to explore and develop a career in the food industry. Batali attend the Cordon Bleu in London and spent three years cooking in a small town in Italy and discovered his passion for Italian food. He adapted his cooking style from traditional Italian recipes and seasonal ingredients.

Look Inside of Mario Batali's Kitchen

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    • KickStart1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Andrew Armstrong 

      5 years ago from San Francisco, California

      Hi TeriSilver, you have a great point out there. It's hard to tell nowadays with the rise of reality TV. From learning about their backgrounds, it seem like they were working hard to make it "big" for themselves. And they got lucky when the Food Network approached them with great opportunities. It's almost like the rise of YouTube Stars. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Michelle Phan on YouTube but she made a simple video on how to wear make-up and the next thing you know she became a make-up millionaire. It's really all come down to a niche and an opportunity.

    • TeriSilver profile image

      Teri Silver 

      5 years ago from The Buckeye State

      Are these people celebrities who engage in the food industry or did the food industry make them celebrities? With Reality TV it's hard to tell about anything like that these days. I don't watch cooking shows (or cook at all!) so I don't know much about that but it's interesting info, thanks. (COOK is a four letter word to me:))) t

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