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Photos: Richest celebrity chefs in the world

Many chefs can thank the booming culinary television industry for their celebrity status
Chefs don't need a television career to garner success in the culinary world.

While cooks around the globe may all share a distinct love and appreciation for food and the ever-evolving potential of new and dynamic cuisine, celebrity chefs are a more rarefied subset—and they share a unique quality lacking elsewhere in the food world: a voracious appetite for self-promotion.

The status of "celebrity chef" is hard-earned and requires more than simply cooking good food or putting a fresh spin on a familiar dining experience. Celebrity chefs leverage television and social media to create an aura around themselves, a brand identity that often goes beyond food to intermix with celebrities of another calibre, namely those in the music and film industries. Take Mario Batali's long-standing friendship with Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Or Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis becoming two of the latest celebs to be featured in a Scooby Doo movie.

Thanks to the popularity of the Food Network and prime-time foodie shows such as "MasterChef," "The Taste," and "Hell's Kitchen," many popular chefs have gone from being relatively known to beloved by millions.

Even programs that are somewhat food adjacent, like "Kitchen Nightmares" and its focus on the business of restauranteuring as much as the food itself, brought the spectacle of good (and bad) cooking associated with a particular chef's personality and brand to the attention of a willing—some might say hungry—public.

In some cases, chefs don't need a television career to garner success in the culinary world. There are a few culinary wizards who have become sensations simply from their dedication to the craft—and a few smart business decisions, of course. But even if mass media doesn't serve as the springboard for triumph, it becomes inevitably necessary to keep success sustainable. And sustainable success means more and more money.

From television celebrities to culinary superstars, Stacker ranked the top 20 richest celebrity chefs in the world according to data from Celebrity Net Worth.

Mario Batali promoting his cookbook "Big American Cookbook."

#19. Mario Batali (tie)

- Net worth: $25 million

After starring on Food Network's "Molto Mario," a show dedicated to simple, fresh, and traditional Italian cooking, American chef and restaurateur Mario Batali became a household name for his approachable take on Italian cooking. Along with his appearances on "Iron Chef" and "The Chew," Batali became known for his restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, and Singapore. But in 2019, he sold his restaurant holdings after accusations of sexual misconduct appeared in the media two years prior.

Curtis Stone attends promotional event.

#19. Curtis Stone (tie)

- Net worth: $25 million

This Australian celebrity chef is most known as the face of Coles Supermarkets, a Melbourne-based chain of grocery stores. Stone owns two restaurants in the Los Angeles area: Maude in Beverly Hills, which received a Michelin star in 2019, and Gwen, both a restaurant and butcher shop, in Hollywood.

Each restaurant was named after one of Stone's grandmothers, and each serves fresh, local fare featuring California produce. Stone has published a series of cookbooks and has appeared on popular television shows like "Top Chef Masters," "Iron Chef America," "Rachael Ray," and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." He even starred in Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure, a four-day televised event, in January 2011.

Rick Bayless onstage during a cooking demo.

#17. Rick Bayless (tie)

- Net worth: $30 million

He may be an American chef, but Rick Bayless is best known for serving traditional Mexican cuisine—all with a modern twist. His high-end Frontera restaurants serve a vast spectrum of dishes and culinary experiences throughout Chicagoland. Topolobampo, another Bayless establishment, showcases the Michelin-starred chef's sleeker side with a tasting menu experience along with wine pairings and reserve spirits.

Bayless won the first season of "Top Chef Masters" and has since accrued seven James Beard Foundation Awards. He also sells a series of sauces, salsas, and other prepared Mexican dishes at major supermarkets around the country. He appears regularly on YouTube, teaching his beloved audience how to cook his favourite meals.

Giada De Laurentiis hosts promotional event.

#17. Giada De Laurentiis (tie)

- Net worth: $30 million

Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian American chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur particularly known for her appearances on Food Network's "Giada at Home." Her love for cooking traditional Italian meals has captured the hearts of many across the country as they also learn how to fry up the perfect chicken piccata or make a delectably simple bolognese. She has published numerous cookbooks, including "Giada's Italy," where she walks readers through how to live "La Dolce Vita"—"the sweet life," or "the good life." Restaurant goers can experience her food up close at her two restaurant locations in Las Vegas.

Marco Pierre White signs copies of his "White Heat 25."

#16. Marco Pierre White

- Net worth: $40 million

Dubbed the "first celebrity chef" and London's rudest chef, Marco Pierre White was the first British chef to win three Michelin stars for his unforgettable culinary arts. He was the restaurateur for many notable steakhouses and Italian hot spots, an ode to his family heritage. White has published several books, including "White Heat," a part-autobiography cookbook that explores the experiences and stories behind his "bad boy" chef image.

Levi Roots attends event.

#15. Levi Roots

- Net worth: $45 million

A man of many talents, Levi Roots—full name Keith Valentine Graham—is a celebrity chef, TV personality, and British Jamaican reggae musician.

Born in Jamaica in 1958, Roots is most known for his popular Reggae Reggae Sauce, a jerk barbecue sauce honouring the most popular names and songs in Reggae music, encouraging consumers to "put some music in your food." He also published a cookbook two years after the sauce's original 2006 release and has made many television appearances, notably on the BBC's "Caribbean Food Made Easy."

Vikram Vij speaks in a kitchen.

#10. Vikram Vij (tie)

- Net worth: $50 million

Vikram Vij is an Indian-born Canadian chef best known for serving exquisite Indian cuisine. He co-owns Vij's with his ex-wife Meeru Dhalwala in Vancouver, British Columbia. (A second venture, Rangoli, was forced to shutter amid the impacts of COVID-19.)

The two are known for cooking and serving Indian cuisine in the traditional manner, focusing on meats, seafood, and produce that are all locally available. He has collaborated on two cookbooks and once sold a line of pre-prepared gourmet curries in grocery stores across Canada.

Thomas Keller attends promotional event.

#10. Thomas Keller (tie)

- Net worth: $50 million

Titled the Best Chef in America in 1997, American-born chef Thomas Keller is best known for his critically acclaimed restaurant, The French Laundry, located in Napa Valley, California. He is also the chef and proprietor of Per Se, Bouchon, Bar Bouchon, and Bouchon Bakery, located throughout New York and Connecticut, all of which are part of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Winner of multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, Keller was awarded the Best Chef in California by the James Beard Foundation in 1996 and overall Outstanding Chef the following year.

Along with his popular cookbooks, Keller launched Finesse magazine to showcase topics important to culinary experience and hosts workshops through MasterClass. Keller is the first American-born chef so far to hold multiple three-star Michelin ratings.

Ree Drummond attends The Pioneer Woman Magazine Celebration.

#10. Ree Drummond (tie)

- Net worth: $50 million

American blogger-turned-celebrity chef Ree Drummond is best known for opening up her working ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, to the rest of the world. She stars on the Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman," where she cooks for family and friends at home.

The show is titled after the blog Drummond started in 2006 to share her favourite recipes and life on the ranch. Her namesake was soon acquired by Hearst and became a publication, The Pioneer Woman Magazine, which remains popular today. She has also published 17 books and offers a line of popular cookware through Walmart.

Jose Andres attends the MasterCard Exclusive - Paella & Tapas by the Pool event.

#10. José Andrés (tie)

- Net worth: $50 million

Born in Mieres, Spain, José Ramón Andrés Puerta is most often credited for bringing the dining concept of small plates (known as tapas in Spain) to America. Andrés is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides meals to those grappling with the effects of natural disasters, which earned him a National Humanities Medal from the White House in 2015.

He owns several restaurants across the country and has made dozens of television appearances, including on "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" in 2018. He was a James Beard Foundation Award winner in 2011 and a winner of the Julia Child Award in 2019.

Guy Fieri attends the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Festival.

#10. Guy Fieri (tie)

- Net worth: $50 million

Best known for his spiky hair, goatee, and casual looks, Guy Fieri has been the unofficial mayor of "Flavortown" beloved by millions across the globe.

This American restaurateur is an Emmy-nominated television presenter, best known for his Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." He owns restaurants in New York City; Las Vegas; Orlando, Florida; and throughout California, where diners can experience the true Flavortown experience up close. He has opened numerous fast-food sandwich locations throughout the country, including Guy's Burger Joint and Chicken Guy!

Ina Garten signs cookbooks at promotional event.

#8. Ina Garten (tie)

- Net worth: $60 million

She may have started as a staff member in the White House Office of Management and Budget, but after seeing an ad for a 400-square-foot store called Barefoot Contessa in Westhampton Beach, New York, Ina Garten decided to quit her government job and launch her culinary career.

It was a move that eventually paid dividends. Her store quickly gained popularity, as did her Barefoot Contessa personality—now the name of her Food Network show, along with numerous cookbooks and merchandise. Garten has won seven Emmy awards, and her Food Network show draws in about 1 million viewers per episode.

Bobby Flay attends benefit.

#8. Bobby Flay (tie)

- Net worth: $60 million

Bobby Flay is the first chef with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The American-born chef, restaurateur, and television personality is the owner and executive for such restaurants and franchises as Bobby's Burger Palace, Bobby's Burgers, and Amalfi. He is the author of numerous cookbooks and has made over 100 appearances on "Iron Chef America." One of his most recent shows, "Beat Bobby Flay," encourages chefs to a showdown with Flay himself to see if anyone can cook better than him.

Emeril Lagasse announces new restaurant aboard Carnival Cruise Ship.

#7. Emeril Lagasse

- Net worth: $70 million

American-born Emeril Lagasse is best known for his Creole and Cajun cuisine, stemming from his Portuguese and French Canadian heritage. His Turkey and Hot Sausage Chili won the National Best Recipe award in 2003, and Lagasse was also recognized with a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chefs in America in 1991.

His flagship restaurant is in New Orleans, with other locations throughout Las Vegas, Florida, and even aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships. He is best known for coining certain TV catchphrases like "kick it up a notch" and "bam!"

Rachael Ray on stage during a culinary demonstration.

#6. Rachael Ray

- Net worth: $100 million

A New Yorker through and through, Rachael Ray grew up in the world of restaurants thanks to her mother, who managed eateries throughout the state. She is best known for conceptualizing "30 Minute Meals," where she teaches her students, readers, and Food Network viewers at home how to make tasty meals in half an hour or less.

Along with her cookbooks, she launched the magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray, launched originally by the Reader's Digest Association. She also won a Daytime Emmy Award for her "Rachael Ray" talk show.

Wolfgang Puck speaks on stage at event.

#5. Wolfgang Puck

- Net worth: $120 million

Unlike many of the popular chefs preceding him, Wolfgang Puck didn't earn his celebrity status through television appearances (even though he has made guest appearances on popular shows like "Frasier") but through his excellent steakhouses in high-end neighbourhoods.

Although this Austrian American chef is the owner of more than a dozen restaurants worldwide, he is best known for Spago, an award-winning set of small restaurants first opened on the Sunset Strip, known for serving California cuisine. He launched Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., which oversees the restaurants, cookbooks, and products under his name. The Puck recently starred in "Wolfgang," a documentary about himself, on Disney+.

Nobu Matsuhisa attends the grand opening of Nobu at Paris Las Vegas.

#3. Nobu Matsuhisa (tie)

- Net worth: $200 million

Hailing from Saitama, Japan, this world-renowned celebrity chef is popular for serving Japanese Peruvian cuisine, such as black cod with miso, one of his signature dishes. His first foray into the American food world was at a restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, but it was at his Beverly Hills restaurant where he formed a pivotal friendship with actor Robert De Niro. The actor would regularly dine at his shop and eventually suggested starting a restaurant in New York. A partnership would only materialize years later.

In a venture with De Niro, as well as Drew Nieporent and Meir Teper, Matsuhisa, he opened New York City's Nobu in 1994 and has since expanded with dozens of locations across the globe. He received a James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant in 1995 and has been nominated for many more since. Nobu has been featured in major films such as "Casino" and "Memoirs of a Geisha." His restaurant's simple style also inspired a small chain of hotels under his name.

Jamie Oliver visits BuzzFeed's "AM To DM" to discuss his new book.

#3. Jamie Oliver (tie)

- Net worth: $200 million

A British chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur, Jamie Oliver is known for his casual-cool approach to cooking thanks to his popular show "The Naked Chef," which originally premiered in 1999. He focuses on English and Italian cuisine with organic ingredients, making cooking approachable for the masses with shows like "Jamie's 15-Minute Meals," a 40-episode event through Channel 4 in the U.K.

His Feed Me Better campaign started in 2005 and introduced schoolchildren to healthier foods. He has also won various television and philanthropic awards, including a BAFTA for Best Features. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire at the Queen's Birthday Honors in 2003.

Gordon Ramsay gestures during an interview.

#2. Gordon Ramsay

- Net worth: $220 million

Known for his impossibly high culinary standards and calling out culinary nightmares, Gordon Ramsay is considered one of the most influential chefs from the U.K. He founded Gordon Ramsay Restaurants in 1997 and has since been awarded 17 Michelin stars for his culinary wizardry.

He is best known for the television series "MasterChef," "Hell's Kitchen," and "Kitchen Nightmares" and isn't afraid to be brutally honest when a chef's cooking isn't up to snuff. Ramsay was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.

Kimbal Musk speaks onstage at event.

#1. Kimbal Musk

- Net worth: $500 million

Entrepreneurship runs in the Musk family. Chef, restaurateur, and owner of The Kitchen Restaurant Group—and yes, brother to Elon—Kimbal Musk is a South African-based chef known for owning a set of "community" restaurants throughout the U.S.

Kimbal is best known for opening The Kitchen, a community bistro in Colorado that has earned him a spot on lists by Food & Wine, Zagat, Gourmet, OpenTable, and the James Beard Foundation. He also sat on the board for the popular chain Chipotle from 2013 and 2019.

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