Top Earning Celebrity Chefs

April 18, 2011

Over the course of the past several weeks, several people have asked which celebrity chefs earn the most from their entertainment roles. Unfortunately, that type of information is not readily available, but Forbes released a list of the top 10 money earners in 2008. The top 10 are reprinted below. Do you think these rankings have changed by 2011 or remain about the same?

1. Rachael Ray: Over the past couple of years, Ray has built a solid case as the queen of daytime cooking shows. Her talk show Rachel Ray attracts millions of viewers, she has a highly successful magazine and also endorses Dunkin' Donuts. ($18 million)

2. Wolfgang Puck: Though the Austrian-born chef lacks a major TV presence, he owns 16 fine dining restaurants and offers airport travelers deals at his express establishments. Couple the highly successful restaurants with a line of soups and other food products and Wolfgang pulls in a pretty penny. ($16 million)

3. Gordon Ramsay: The foul-mouthed English chef continues his dominance of American television. He stars in "Hell's Kitchen," "Kitchen Nightmares" and "MasterChef." Yeah, and he also has a ton of popular restaurants throughout the world.($7.5 million)

4. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa: He is hardly a household name for most Americans, but he's making a lot of money from them. Matsuhisa owns "Nobu" restaurants throughout the world. He combines traditional Japanese flavors with South American ones as well. His restaurants are popular among celebrities. ($5 million)

5. Alain Ducasse: Considered one of the finest French chefs in the world (though he's actually a citizen of Monaco), Ducasse operates dozens of restaurants throughout the world. Most of them are fine dining and The Dorcester earned three stars from the folks at Michelin, the highest possible rating. ($5 million)

6. Paula Deen: The undisputed queen of southern and decadent cooking is Ms. Deen. Like Ray and other celebrity chefs with a large TV presence, Deen has her own magazine and a series of widely popular shows on the Food Network. She has also authored numerous cookbooks. ($4.5 million)

7. Mario Batali: Since dropping out of culinary school, Batali has done more than all right. Among recent accomplishments: the launch of a highly successful New York restaurant, Cuoco, and the creation of an Italian supermarket, Eataly, right in the heart of New York City. Batali owns restaurants throughout the world, has appeared numerous times on television and plans to continue expanding his Italian empire. ($3 million)

8. Tom Colicchio: Perhaps, best known as the head judge of Top Chef, Colicchio also owns a series of widely successful restaurants throughout the United States. ($2 million)

9. Bobby Flay: Another one of Food Network's main stars, Flay recently launched into primetime TV when he joined the cast of "America's Next Great Restaurant." He also owns numerous restaurants throughout the country. ($1.5 million)

10. Anthony Bourdain: You've probably read his memoir (Kitchen Confidential), and should if you haven't. Beyond that, Bourdain has become a famous traveler and food lover through his television show, No Reservations. ($1.5 million)

Photo by WEBN TV