20 Celebrity Chefs Who Are Worth Millions
18th August, 2020
20 Celebrity Chefs Who Are Worth Millions www.telegraph.co.uk
Celebrity chefs around the world earn their status due to their superior culinary skills, but making a pretty penny goes beyond cooking spectacular food! These extraordinary culinary maestros step into the limelight for many reasons, whether it's hosting a cooking show or running a successful restaurant chain, believe it or not, they score big on the money —we're talking assets worth millions—through their restaurant chains, cookbooks, and whatnot! Do you know these celebrity chefs who made a fortune?
Paula Deen – $16 million
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Paula Deen – $16 million

Paula Deen, an American TV personality and a famous celebrity chef, is remembered as the dynamic host of the popular culinary show Paula’s Home Cooking. From there, she shot to fame and went on to host multiple shows, and wrote 15 cookbooks. Her $16 million net worth comes from different ventures, including her YouTube channel and her restaurants Paula Deen’s Creek House and The Lady & Sons. The Bag Lady, Deen’s catering business from her home kitchen, is where she began. In 2009, Deen unveiled a new dessert line at Walmart. Her delicious Apple Crunch Top pie and St. Louis-style Gooey Butter Cake bars were among the specialty desserts. That’s not all. Did you know that Deen also appeared in a movie? She starred as Orlando Bloom’s aunt in Elizabethtown(2005). The role obviously showed her cooking. When the movie premiered, the Food Network made a good deal of money by airing the special Paula Goes to Hollywood.

Curtis Stone – $16 million www.tastingtable.com
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Curtis Stone – $16 million

Curtis Stone is undoubtedly one of the coolest Aussie chefs and television personalities out there. In 2008, he launched Kitchen Solutions, which is now the most sought-after kitchenware brand in the world. In February 2021, he opened Pie Room by Gwen, an artisanal bakery, as a temporary replacement for his Michelin-starred restaurant Maude. The income from these business ventures rounds up his net worth to around $25 million. Stone’s story is an inspiring one. He came to London with no money and no job at the age of 21. Can you believe that one of the highest paid chefs in the world had to once volunteer in a restaurant for free? That restaurant being Marco Pierre White’s The Grill Room at Café Royal, definitely paid off for Stone in the long run. Curtis worked there for a period of two years and the rest, as we know it, is history.

Charlie Ayers – $20 million www.oneworld.training
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Charlie Ayers – $20 million

Charles David Ayers, Jr. made a fortune through Google! Ayers was Google’s executive chef for around five years. He had bought Google shares worth $3.4 million before he left the company in 2005. By 2007, these shares were worth over $20 million. Before his big break at Google, Charlie worked as a backstage cook at music festivals. He was occasionally recruited to make meals for touring bands, including the famous Grateful Dead. As he began to make meals for the band frequently, Ayers relocated to the Bay Area, a place famous for several celebrity residences and emerging companies. This decision of relocation would soon be a life-altering move. In 1999, he left the tour life and started working at Google, which was a small online startup back then. Fast forward to the present, with his shares and investments; we can only imagine how much he must be earning!

Nigella Lawson – $20 million www.foodandwine.com
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Nigella Lawson – $20 million

Nigella Lawson, an Oxford graduate, is a journalist-turned-celebrity chef who has a net worth of around $20 million. Her first cookbook, How to Eat, became an instant bestseller in the U.K. It sold over 300,000 copies! She also had a Food Network show called Nigella Feasts, wherein she prepared easy-to-cook food perfect for family get-togethers, small parties, and holidays. She also had her own show on BBC Two, Nigella Express, which was quite successful owing to the fact that Lawson soon went on to release her own line of cookware. Although Nigella Lawson has made a good deal of money in her lifetime, she revealed that she had to take a mortgage on a £5 million-worth London house after she got divorced from Charles Saatchi. This definitely came as a surprise to many as she has had cookbook sales that amount to £50 million!

Mario Batali – $25 million www.usatoday.com
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Mario Batali – $25 million

Mario Batali served an apprenticeship with Marco Pierre White in the early years of his career. At his prime, he was co-managing 16 restaurants worldwide, along with Joe Bastianich. The restaurateur also went on to release several food products and cookbooks. However, when faced with criminal charges for sexual misconduct, his products were taken off the shelves. Despite that, his net worth in 2021 is around $25 million. But let’s rewind a bit. Mario worked as a sous chef at the famous Four Seasons Clift Hotel in his twenties. In 1993, he founded Pó, an Italian restaurant located in New York. Gradually, he shot to fame, and three years later, the Food Network granted him his own show, Molto Mario, which aired for many years. Batali is also the co-founder of the luxurious restaurant Babbo in NY, which brought home several awards and, of course, a lot of cash.

Giada De Laurentiis – $30 million www.usatoday.com
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Giada De Laurentiis – $30 million

Giada De Laurentiis is a distinguished Italian-American chef with many achievements. In her youth, Laurentiis worked at different restaurants in Los Angeles, including Wolfgang Puck’s Michelin-starred Spago. After a gig at Spago, she went on to work as a food stylist, which was a huge step forward in her career. She attracted the attention of Food Network while working as a food stylist; they connected with her after she styled a feature in the “Food & Wine” magazine. Impressed with her work, they gave her a chance to host her own show titled Everyday Italian. She has been a guest judge on the Food Network Star. Laurentiis, along with the Barilla Group, released an Italian gourmet line in 2008. Apart from opening up restaurants in Las Vegas that serve fancy expensive meals, she has done voice overs for quite a few movies. Presently, Laurentiis has a net worth of $30 million!

Rick Bayless – $30 million disneyparks.disney.go.com
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Rick Bayless – $30 million

Rick Bayless, a champion of traditional Mexican cooking with a twist, has authored many award-winning cookbooks. The chef and restaurateur is fondly remembered for his TV series on PBS called Mexico: One Plate at a Time. Bayless celebrated Mexican cuisine in his cookbooks, which can be understood from the titles itself, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico and Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine. His million dollar net worth also comes from his ownership of several acclaimed restaurants. He owns the amazing Frontera Grill in Chicago which is always full of customers, and then there’s the Topolobampo that is refined and screams luxury. He has more than six restaurants in Chicago itself, so you can imagine just how much his daily earnings are!

Marco Pierre White – $40 million yourstory.com
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Marco Pierre White – $40 million

We’re not surprised that Marco Pierre White has a net worth of $40 million, given that he was the first British chef to receive three Michelin stars! He is a veteran in the culinary industry and has trained the likes of Mario Batali and Curtis Stone. In his early years, Marco started off as a kitchen apprentice at the Hotel St. George, soon rising through the ranks to a position at the elite restaurant Box Tree. Following this period, Marco shifted to London and earned the role of a basic chef at the restaurant Le Gavroche. At age 24, he started his own restaurant, Harveys. Did you know that White’s brutal nature made a young Gordon Ramsay cry when he worked at Harveys? Another incident that drew the attention of the press was when White ripped up a chef’s jacket and pants with a paring knife after the latter grumbled about the heat in the kitchen.

Levi Roots – $45 million www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk
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Levi Roots – $45 million

After scoring £50,000 as an investment in UK’s Dragons’ Den, Levi Roots soon built up his sauce company Reggae Reggae Sauce to a $30 million valuation. His total net worth is $45 million. Levi Roots, a celebrity chef, businessman, and renowned musician, is the ultimate all-rounder! It wouldn’t be possible without his million-dollar Reggae Reggae Sauce, which, by the way, is absolutely delicious. In an interview with “The Grocer,” Roots stated that his sauce brand was valued at £45 million pounds. The sauce was flying off the shelves, so much that the production had to pace up. In 2008, his Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Cookbook was released, after which he grew a wider customer base. He also had a culinary program on TV and a book, both named Caribbean Food Made Easy. In addition, he has appeared on the famous television shows Celebrity Mastermind and Big Brother.

Ina Garten – $50 million www.vox.com
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Ina Garten – $50 million

Ina Garten probably never thought she would become one of the world’s famous celebrity chefs. She entered showbiz with no experience in the cookbook business. In spite of that, her The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook became a huge hit! She now has a net worth of around $60 million. She decided to invest in the world of gastronomy after seeing an ad in the New York Times for a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa. She went to Westhampton Beach, New York, to see the establishment and loved it. Despite no prior experience in the culinary industry, she believed it was the career path for her. Garten made an offer to the owner, and the owner approved Garten’s proposal the day after. After owning the 400-square-foot business, she quit her government career in 1978 and relocated to one of the most expensive cities to live in, New York City.

Vikram Vij – $50 million www.vinesmag.com
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Vikram Vij – $50 million

As an investor on the Canadian series Dragons’ Den, it is only obvious that Vikram Vij is filthy rich! His net worth is $50 million, the same as Ina Garten. He opened his first restaurant in Vancouver and named it Vij’s Restaurant, where the likes of Martha Stewart and Harrison Ford have dined. This culinary genius is known for continually innovating and pushing the boundaries of Indian cuisine. He opened his first solo restaurant, My Shanti, which served incredible Indian meals and became a popular go-to restaurant in South Surrey, BC. After success in the culinary industry, Vikram created his own brand of delicious gourmet packed curries based on his most popular meals. He opened an enormous food processing factory in Surrey, BC, to keep up with the increased demand for ready-to-eat meals in both Canada and the United States. His high-end packaged meals are now sold at large supermarkets.

José Andrés – $50 million www.miaminewtimes.com
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José Andrés – $50 million

José Andrés is in the $50 million net worth club too! This Spanish-American chef has restaurants from Texas all the way up to Washington. We all know what this means—cha-ching, the sound of a lot of money! He is often credited with developing the concept of small plates. Andrés worked at a tapas restaurant, Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., when he relocated to the United States. He soon became a famous celebrity chef and opened restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Florida, New York City, and many other locations. He was the chair of the advisory committee for the social venture LA Kitchen, which aims to minimise food waste and promote access to healthy food. José Andrés was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2015. In 2010, Andrés founded the non-profit organization World Central Kitchen to help millions of people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. We need more chefs like him!

Bobby Flay – $60 million www.winespectator.com
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Bobby Flay – $60 million

This celebrity TV chef, who dropped out of high school when he was 17, now has a net worth of over $60 million! His trendy yet rustic restaurant named Gato in New York is famous for its lavish Mediterranean cuisine with a Spanish flair. Flay, being one of the highest paid chefs in the world, has also acted in films. He has also starred in a Disney Channel Original movie called Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off as a host of a cook-off. Part of Bobby Flay’s net worth comes from his success as a restaurateur, but his biggest claim to fame is as a cookbook author and Food Network presenter. He is the author of more than a dozen successful cookbooks. He has had several shows under his belt, including Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, and Brunch at Bobby’s.

David Chang – $60 million www.delicious.com.au
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David Chang – $60 million

David Chang, the founder of the famous restaurant group Momofuku, ties in with Bobby Flay with a net worth of $60 million. We already miss having the glorious ramen at his Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York! He has opened several franchises under the Momofuku brand in the past two decades. In 2009, his world-class restaurant Momofuku Ko was granted two Michelin stars. He became more popular when, in 2011, McSweeney’s released Lucky Peach, a culinary journal Chang co-created with celebrated food writer Peter Meehan. Chang announced the establishment of a new restaurant, Momofuku Kāwi, in New York’s Hudson Yards complex in May 2017. The restaurant, however, took a hit during the pandemic and had to be closed permanently. Meanwhile, David Chang took the opportunity of the lockdown and began hosting online cooking classes. Imagine cooking along with a millionaire celebrity chef. Sounds surreal!

Emeril Lagasse – $70 million www.eater.com
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Emeril Lagasse – $70 million

Just like Bobby Flay, Lagasse has also had multiple shows on Food Network that made him a millionaire. His net worth of $70 million comes from his extraordinary empire. He has been in numerous TV shows, has a cookware brand, and has various bestseller cookbooks to his name! This legendary chef will always be remembered for his catchphrase, “Kick it up a notch!,” which caught on during his cooking shows. In 1990, Lagasse founded his first restaurant in New Orleans called Emeril’s, which would prove to be a big step towards his culinary prowess. The dishes on the menu had accents of French, Caribbean, Asian, and Lagasse’ native Portuguese cuisine, so of course, it took no time to grow in popularity! There’s a lot more to Lagasse. Did you know that this famous celebrity chef was also a remarkable percussionist? He was also awarded a scholarship to pursue music, but he chose the culinary business instead, and boy, did it pay off! Could he have become one of the richest musicians of all time instead? We can only imagine!

Rachael Ray – $80 million www.npr.org
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Rachael Ray – $80 million

Celebrity TV chef Rachael Ray, one of the wealthiest female chefs, has a net worth of around $100 million. She is famous for her quick and easy recipes and cooking style. Her TV show 30 Minute Meals had us charmed with Ray’s expertise in Italian cuisine! Her show made a comeback in 2019, much to everyone’s delight. Her imaginative and extremely successful cookbooks shot her to fame and the entertainment industry soon started giving her offers to appear on a variety of cooking shows and reality TV programs. Rachael Ray soon became a household name and everyone wanted to know what her next venture would be! It isn’t surprising that Ray’s culinary series have bagged three Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2020, given their enormous viewership. Her numerous ventures make her roughly $25 million each year, mostly from her TV show income and hefty book deals.

Wolfgang Puck – $90 million gazettereview.com
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Wolfgang Puck – $90 million

Wolfgang Puck, the name behind the flagship Spago restaurants around the globe, is now a Hollywood celeb! He takes care of the dinner service at the Academy Awards Governors Ball, where he serves around 25,000 plates of scrumptious food every year. He has also appeared in CSI, Frasier, and The Simpsons. Wolfgang Puck’s net worth is $120 million, making him one of the richest celebrity chefs in the world. Wolfgang released his first culinary masterpiece Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen in 1981, and founded Spago in West Hollywood the following year. Since then, he went on to open restaurants all over the U.S. Chinois, Postrio, Granita, and Trattoria del Lupo are some of the restaurants he’s founded. From Malibu to Las Vegas, within a few years, everybody knew who Wolfgang Puck was! His culinary talent is unmatched, and it led him to build a legacy in the world of gastronomy.

Thomas Keller – $130 million www.elitetraveler.com
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Thomas Keller – $130 million

Thomas Keller, famous for his oysters and pearls recipe, has amassed a fortune of over $130 million! He is the head chef and owner of The French Laundry, a classy French restaurant in Napa Valley, California. The restaurant serves an 18-course tasting menu, and it takes months to score a reservation at this place! One random fact about this restaurateur is that he was the food consultant for Disney’s Ratatouille. Throughout his remarkable career, he has earned several industry accolades, including the Best California Chef in 1996, followed by the Best Chef in America in 1997. He opened his first restaurant, Rakel, in early 1987. Fast forward to the present, he now has a total of seven Michelin stars. It’s no surprise that his success in the culinary industry has superseded Jamie Oliver’s net worth who’s also a celebrated and much-loved chef. Keller is definitely one of the chefs to look out for!

Nobu Matsuhisa – $200 million loscabos.nobuhotels.com
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Nobu Matsuhisa – $200 million

Nobu Matsuhisa, who hails from Japan, is famous for his signature dish Black Cod with Miso. He built a global Nobu empire with Robert De Niro, who fell in love with his classic miso dish. He owns Nobu locations in The Philippines, London, Mexico, Tokyo…the list goes on. And at one point, there were 32 locations around the globe. Nobu became a luxury brand. Then there was Nobu West, Nobu: The Cookbook, Nobu Now, and Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook, some of Matsuhisa’s contributions to culinary art. That’s not it; Matsuhisa has also appeared in three movies. The legendary chef has a net worth of about $200 million. The Nobu empire makes hundreds of millions of dollars in sales each year. However, the Nobu group reportedly took 14 loans from the country’s small business relief program amounting to an estimated $28 million. It is also said that the lockdown massively impacted the restaurant chain plans to scale up.

Gordon Ramsay – $220 million doerlife.com
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Gordon Ramsay – $220 million

We’re not surprised that the restaurateur and chef’s net worth is over $220 million. After all, the fiery Hell’s Kitchen host charges over $200,000 per episode. Also, let’s not discount the brand endorsements, books, and his YouTube channel, which help him bring in some big bucks. It doesn’t stop here; Gordon Ramsay’s net worth also comes from his restaurants that have been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total! No wonder he has some of the best supercars ever! Ramsay founded his own restaurant in London’s Chelsea area with a straightforward name, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. The restaurant was awarded its third Michelin star by 2001, making him the first Scotsman with this honour. His influence quickly grew from there. He created and dissolved a number of well-known restaurants, turned into a Food Network mainstay, and soon became a name everyone knew! He owns restaurants in Tokyo, London, New York City, and Ireland.