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NEWS: Top-Earning Celebrity Chefs

Rachael Ray’s many books, such as this
one, 365: No Repeats-A Year of
Deliciously Different Dinners
, contribute
to her astounding net worth of $18
million a year.
  In Forbes Magazine’s ranking of the top-10 celebrity chef earners, the number-one earning chef, by a long shot, has never had a restaurant or worked as a chef (although her family owned a restaurant); but she has four Food Network programs, a nationally-syndicated talk show, a magazine, a dog food line and a Dunkin’ Donuts ad—for an estimated $18 million a year. Who are the big earners?

1. Rachael Ray, $18 million.

2. Wolfgang Puck, $16 million (from 16 fine-dining brands, including Spago, Chinois, Cut and the Source; Wolfgang Puck Express at airports; Wolfgang Puck Bistros in suburbia; supermarket brands; and cutlery on the Home Shopping Network).

3. Gordon Ramsay, $7.5 million (from restaurants around the world and TV shows “Hell’s Kitchen” in the U.S. and “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” in the U.K.).

4. Nobu Matsuhisa, $5 million (from 17 Nobu sushi restaurants around the world).

5. Alain Ducasse, $5 million (from 22 restaurants worldwide).

6. Paula Deen, $4.5 million (from two Food Network shows, cookbooks, magazine and a memoir).

7. Mario Batali, $3 million (13 restaurants in New York, including Babbo and Del Posto, Los Angeles and Las Vegas).

8. Tom Colicchio, $2 million (from his restaurant empire, plus Bravo’s “Top Chef cooking” competition).

9. Bobby Flay, $1.5 million (from his restaurants, plus Food Network shows, “Throwdown!”, “Boy Meets Grill” and “The Next Food Network Star.”

10. Anthony Bourdain, $1.5 million (from his Travel Channel show, “No Reservations,” and his 2000 book, “Kitchen Confidential,” which was an instant bestseller).

As all professional chefs will tell you, the only reason to go into the business is because you have a great passion for cooking. Working as a chef, or owning a restaurant, is very hard work. But for some, there’s a very big payoff.

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