Top 5 Celebrity Chefs

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Celebrity chefs you should know.

Since the 1990’s, channels like The Food Network and reality shows like today’s Top Chef, Iron Chef and Hell’s Kitchen have helped in creating a whole new realm of the celebrity world by bringing culinary arts into the mainstream entertainment industry. The most famous chefs of today are more than just television cooks. Many of these chef de cuisine celebs have extensive backgrounds in their studies of culinary arts, most own at least one restaurant and a number of them have their own books as well!

Although there are a number of great chefs out there and many on the rise in the media, the top five celebrity chefs we will look at today are in their position not only due to their accomplishments within the kitchen but also due to their success in business. Let the countdown begin…

Number 5: Tom Colicchio

Mostly known for his seat as the fearsome head judge on Bravo’s reality cooking show Top Chef, Tom Colicchio is a cookbook author and a New York City restaurateur as well, owning the popular Gramercy Tavern. With his piercing blue eyes and bear-like, masculine build, Colicchio has been deemed one of the “Sexiest Men Living” in 2008 by Salon. However, despite his good looks, he is not famous for his camera appeal – his hard work and dedication in the kitchen are what have brought him to where he is today. He is an inspiration to many cooks and has received five James Beard Foundation Medals for his cooking accomplishments. Tom has recently become known for saving the life of cookbook author Joan Nathan as she choked on a piece of chicken the night before Inauguration Day.

Number 4: Paula Deen

Although in an industry dominated by men, Paula Deen has grown into a standout female celebrity chef. She has a strong southern drawl and a lively personality which Is loved by many. Paula used cooking as a means to cope with the severe agoraphobia and started a business called The Bag Lady and made boxed lunches for local businesses and had her sons do the delivering. She later opened her restaurant in Savannah, Georgia The Lady and Sons restaurant and also wrote a cookbook. In one day her cookbook sold 70,000 copies on QVC which then lead her soaring into the mainstream. Currently she is enjoyed by many on her cooking show on Food Network, “Paula’s Home Cooking” and now has two restaurants and has 3 cooking shows along with a magazine and line of baking mixes! Paula has even done her fair share of work on the big screen in Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” in 2005.

Number 3: Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay has a versatile array of culinary talents as he is a well-known chef and restaurateur, an award-winning cookbook author and a famed television personality. Since age 17, Bobby has an extensive culinary background. He studied at the French Culinary Institute where he earned the “Outstanding Graduate Award.” He specializes in his unique southwestern cooking style. His extensive knowledge has earned him awards such as “Best Restaurant 1992” by New York Magazine and the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year in 1993 award. Flay shares his knowledge as well as his enthusiasm through his cookbooks and on television shows such as Food Network’s “Boy Meets Grill” and many other shows. Flay’s astounding ability to remain true to his unique cooking style while making it fun has earned him respect and favor of many American food fanatics.

Number 2: Mario Batali

Mario Batali’s feels that the essential ingredient to most everything is olive oil, which is undoubtedly fitting to his specialty in Italian cuisine. His appearance suits him well: shorts – no matter what the weather, orange clogs, and his signature ponytail. Batali actually attended Rutgers University and majored in Spanish theater and business with hopes to move to Spain to be a banker. During this time he worked as a dishwasher then moved up to the position of pizza maker and thus began his calling in the food world. He attended the Cordon Bleu in London and discovered a passion for Italian food. He has earned awards such as Man of the Year in the chef category in GQ magazine in 1999, he won the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef of the year in 2005, and also received the 2001 D’Artagnan Cervena Who’w Who of Food & Beverage in America. His first restaurant called “Babbo” in Greenwich Village was successful and lead up to TV shows, more restaurant ventures, cookbooks, and even his own line of cookware. Mario also owns a dairy goat farm.

Number 1: Emeril Lagasse

There is no other way to begin this paragraph than to exclaim “BAM!” or “Kick it up a notch!” Emeril Lagasse is one of the most recognizable chefs of all time. He is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and is widely known from his television shows “Essense of Emeril” and “Emeril Live.” Emeril attended Johnson and Wales University culinary program to earn a doctorate. He then became interested in the cuisine of France while polishing his skills in Paris and Lyons. He later returned to the U.S. and began building a reputation of using the finest and freshest products and eventually began working at the Commander’s Palace, a famous New Orleans restaurant. In 1990 he opened his first restaurant and from then on, Emeril received outstanding praise. People from across the country as well as renowned magazines such as Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure gained sudden interest in this amazing restaurateur. Emeril is today known for his fresh ingredients along with his creative approach to Creole cuisine. Emeril even has his own team of farmers, fishers and ranchers to ensure that he receives the freshest ingredients possible!

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