Gordon Ramsay, the star of the insanely popular and extremely entertaining television programs "Hell's Kitchen", "Master Chef", and "Kitchen Nightmares", has been deemed the highest earning chef in the United States, according to Forbes. In addition to his numerous televised endeavors, Ramsay has opened numerous restaurants, released countless cookbooks, and has received a whopping 11 Michelin stars. The chef's estimated global income: $38 million. From where I'm seated, the guy has earned every single penny he's made.
Nipping at his heels is the always-bubbly Rachael Ray, who managed to snag $25 million in just twelve months. Ray, too, has a number of accomplishments under her belt, including a daytime chat show, a well-circulated magazine, and several best-selling cookbooks. Although she's in the number two spot this year, $25 million is nothing to complain about. Her empire is doing quite well, especially when you stop to consider she's selling "garbage bowls" to suburban housewives. If she can make a mint off of such ridiculous items, I say go for it, girl.
Also on this year's list is Wolfgang Puck, who netted a cool $20 million from his 20 restaurants and various business endeavors. Paula Deen, who was recently criticized for hiding her Type 2 Diabetes from the public eye, managed to rake in $17 million from her restaurants, cookbooks, and merchandise. Rounding out the top five is Mario Batali, star of "The Chew" and owner of over a dozen eateries. He managed to grab $13 million from his various ventures.
"They are very diversified," Forbe's Dorothy Pomerantz explaiined. "There is nobody who just has restaurants. TV is a huge factor in making this list because they make so much more money from television than they can from their restaurants."
For a complete list of the top-earning chefs and restaurants in the United States, then have a look at the original Forbes article. As always, it's definitely an interesting read, particularly if you're obsessed with celebrity food moguls and their ilk.