Top 20 Most Influential Celeb Chefs - #10-1
Throughout August, Caterer Middle East's online F&B survey recorded votes from Middle East industry professionals regarding who they felt were the most influential celebrity chefs impacting the F&B industry today.
Earlier this week, we revealed the placings from numbers 20 to 10.
Here, in reverse order, is the top 10, as voted for by the industry...
10) Pierre Gagnaire
French chef Pierre Gagnaire began his career in St. Etienne where he won three Michelin stars, with his modern take on French cuisine.
Today, he is head chef and owner of the Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Paris, and also runs outlets in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul — along with Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in Dubai.
Gagniare is scheduled to open his first restaurant in the USA at the end of this year, at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas.
9) Marco Pierre White
Marco Pierre White is an English chef and restaurateur known for his fiery temper as well as his skills in the kitchen.
White trained under Albert Roux and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche, and later gained experience from other masters such as later under Pierre Koffman and Raymond Blanc.
1987, White opened Harvey’s in London where he won his first Michelin star almost immediately; a second followed, then one at The Restaurant Marco Pierre White where he was patron-chef.
This made him the youngest chef — at the age of 33 — to be awarded three Michelin stars, although his record has since been usurped by Italian Massimiliano Alajmo, who won three stars at the age of 28 in 2002.
In 1999, White announced his retirement from cheffing, deciding to focus more on his personal life, and became a restaurateur.
He set up the company White Star Line, which currently owns London restaurants Belvedere and L'Escargot.
White has published several books, including White Heat, Wild Food from Land and Sea and an autobiography called White Slave. He has also appeared in two series of ITV’s Hells Kitchen.
8) Wolfgang Puck
Austrian chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, now based in Los Angeles, originally learnt cooking from his mother, who had experience as a pastry chef.
Puck trained as an apprentice in France before moving to the United States in 1973, where he eventually moved to Los Angeles to become chef and part owner at Ma Maison restaurant.
Following the 1981 publication of his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen , Puck opened the restaurant Spago on the Sunset Strip.
Fifteen years later, he opened Spago in Beverly Hills, which earned him two Michelin Stars.
Puck established the Wolfgang Puck Companies — trademarked motto: “Live Love Eat’ — encompassing over 20 fine-dining restaurants, premium catering services, more than 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise.
He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards Governors Ball, and has several TV and film appearances to his name, including Celebrity Cooking Showdown, Wolfgang Puck series, Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters — along with cameos in several movies.
7) Heston Blumenthal
The chef and owner of The Fat Duck — a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the village of Bray in Berkshire, UK — culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal claims he is primarily self-taught.
Apart from a week's work experience in Raymond Blanc's kitchen and a short time with Marco Pierre White, his skill has been built through his own experiences.
One of Blumenthal’s signature techniques is the use of a vacuum jar to increase expansion of bubbles during food preparation. He is also a proponent of very slow, low-temperature cooking, and of the Sous-vide cooking technique.
Blumenthal has produced various TV series in the UK, including Kitchen Chemistry with Heston Blumenthal, Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection and Heston Blumenthal: Further Adventures In Search of Perfection, and signed a two-year deal with Channel 4 in March 2008.
6) Gary Rhodes
English restaurateur, cookery writer and chef Gary Rhodes got his first kitchen job at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Following that, he had various jobs in Europe before returning to the UK, where he eventually became head chef at the Greenhouse Restaurant in London.
The Greenhouse menu was all about reviving British classics — and received a Michelin star in 1996 for its efforts.
Rhodes has fronted BBC shows such as Masterchef, Hell's Kitchen and his own series, Rhodes Around Britain. He recently completed two new shows: Rhodes Across India and Rhodes Across China.
Today he owns four restaurants and is associated with many others — including Rhodes Mezzanine at Grosvenor House, Dubai, where he is the patron-chef.
5) Nobu Matsuhisa
Japanese-born Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is a chef and restaurateur known renowned for his fusing traditional Japanese dishes with South American ingredients.
Nobu is executive chef at co-owner of Nobu Las Vegas, with Robert De Niro and managing partner Richie Notar.
The outlet has earned a Michelin star — and today there are numerous other Nobu restaurants around the world: in Dallas, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Athens, Melbourne, London and of course Dubai, at Atlantis The Palm.
4) Alain Ducasse
Celebrated chef Alain Ducasse (formerly of French nationality, but recently granted citizenship from Monaco) originally trained under renowned chef Roger Vergé, where he learned the Provençal style which was to flavour much of his later cooking.
His restaurant at Sofitel Demeure Le Parc Hotel in Paris received three stars just eight months after opening in 1996.
In June 2000, he opened the Alain Ducasse restaurant in New York City's Essex House hotel, which received three stars but closed in 2007. Ducass has since opened two more US outlets, in New York and Washington.
He also runs a cooking school for the general public in Paris and another for chefs — the Alain Ducasse Formation (ADF), which also works with the European Space Agency, developing food for astronauts in space.
Ducasse has authored numerous books and today is involved with multiple outlets around the world, including dessert restaurant Tamaris in Beirut, Lebanon.
3) Jamie Oliver
This chirpy British chap, often to as ‘The Naked Chef’ after the title of his debut BBC series (a reference to the simplicity of his recipes rather than anything more risqué) kicked off his career by training at Westminster Catering College.
After graduating, Jamie Oliver’s first job was as a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Yard restaurant, after which he moved to The River Café in Fulham, as a sous chef.
It was here that he came to the attention of the BBC, who shot him to stardom with his first series, The Naked Chef.
Today, Oliver is known for his TV shows, and high-profile campaigns for better standards of school food and to improve public eating habits.
He also conceived and established the Fifteen charity restaurant, where he trained 15 disadvantaged young people to work in the hospitality industry. Following the success of the first project in London (documented in the series Jamie's Kitchen) more Fifteens have opened around the globe.
Oliver is now expanding his presence by opening restaurants around the world; watch out for a Jamie’s Italian and a new barbeque concept coming up in Dubai.
Click here to read our exclusive interview with Jamie Oliver.
2) Ferran Adrià
The famed head chef of three Michelin-starred restaurant El Bulli on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain — widely considered one of the best restaurants in the world — started his career as a dishwasher at a hotel, where the chef taught him about traditional Spanish cuisine.
At the age of 18, after a stint as a cook in the military services, Ferran Adrià joined the kitchen staff at El Bulli as a line cook. A mere eighteen months later, he took on the role of head chef.
Adrià is frequently credited with popularising ‘molecular gastronomy’. He is also well known for his advancements regarding ‘culinary foam’, discarding the traditionally-used cream and egg and using only the main ingredient and air, with the help of nitrus oxide cartridges.
El Bulli opens from April to October — Adrià spends the remaining six months of the year working on recipes at his workshop in Barcelona.
Adrià is the author of several cookbooks and has been a featured chef on Great Chefs television.
1) Gordon Ramsay
It’s been a rather trying year for the expletive-prone British chef, but still Gordon Ramsay’s influence stretches around the globe — as shown by the fact that you voted him the ‘Most Influential Celebrity Chef’ in last month’s Caterer F&B Survey.
Ramsay started out by working in a series of restaurants, before joining Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s. After nearly three years, he moved to work for Albert Roux at Le Gavroche, followed by a stint in Paris under Michelin-starred chefs Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon.
Not long after his return to the UK, White offered to set Ramsay up as head chef at the Rossmore, owned by White's business partners.
Renamed Aubergine under Ramsay, it went on to win two Michelin stars.
Ramsay left this partnership in 1997 and opened his own restaurant in Chelsea — Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, which today boasts three Michelin stars.
He is one of only three UK chefs to retain three stars for his restaurant, the others being Alain Roux and Heston Blumenthal.
Today, Ramsay boasts a sizeable restaurant empire — including Verre by Gordon Ramsay at Hilton Dubai Creek — and also acts as a consultant to numerous catering organisations.
He has made numerous television appearances, including well-known series such as Boiling Point, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen, which have lead to international stardom.
To read more about Ramsay’s difficulties this year, click here.
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