Mental Floss

The Quick 10: The 10 Top-Earning Chefs

Stacy Conradt

Today's Q10 comes to us straight from Forbes. Do a good job at Thanksgiving and this could be you, next year! These are yearly earnings, by the way, not total earnings.

10. Anthony Bourdain, $1.5 million. I was pleased to see this, because I love Anthony Bourdain. I especially like the episode of No Reservations where he ends up stranded in Romania because of a crappy rental car and his guide throws his back out trying to move the car. So, the guide drinks to try to alleviate the pain. Eventually, the guide (who was also Bourdain's friend) ended up pounding on a table with his fist drunkenly yelling, "Tony! Tony!" It was fabulous. The figure seems low to me, though, considering the restaurants, the show, the books, etc.

9. Bobby Flay, $1.5 million. I don't have much to say about Bobby Flay, "˜cause I don't really like him. OK, that's not fair. He is the owner and executive chef of six restaurants, has eight cookbooks, and has hosted seven Food Network shows.

8. Tom Colicchio, $2 million. The Top Chef judge owns the Craft line of restaurants, including 'wichcraft. He also used to be the co-owner, co-founder, and executive chef of NYC's Gramercy Tavern.

7. Mario Batali, $3 million. This seems low, too "“ he's owns not one"¦ not two"¦ but 13 restaurants in New York, L.A. and Vegas. But he's also got the cookware. I guess if he runs low on cash he could always approach Crocs about becoming a spokesperson.

6. Paula Deen, $4.5 million. My mom's favorite!

Two Food Network shows, cookbooks, a magazine, an memoir "“ Paula's money comes as much from selling her personality as it does from her butter-soaked, Southern-style food.

5. Alain Ducasse, $5 million. He tops Batali's 13 restaurants "“ Ducasse owns 22 across the world. But he's got some incredibly interesting side projects going on - he has two cooking schools in Paris - one for the general public and one specifically for chefs. His school for chefs is partnering with the European Space Agency for tastier astronaut meals.

4. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, $5 million. He co-owns 17 Nobu sushi joints (yum). But I'm sure the real money comes from his movie royalties - he was Mr. Roboto in Austin Powers in Goldmember. On second thought, I bet his four cookbooks do OK, too.

3. Gordon Ramsay, $7.5 million. He might be a television personality, but no doubt the dude can cook. He's got a total of 13 Michelin stars, the third highest number in the world (Alain Ducasse and French Chef Joel Robuchon rank above him). Couple that with the cookbooks, the autobiographies and the T.V. shows, and you can see where the $7.5 million comes from.
2. Wolfgang Puck, $16 million. He started with Spago and now owns 15 other restaurants, plus Wolfgang Puck Express, which you can find in airports across the world. And he's developing his brand into your grocery store, too.

1. Rachael Ray, $18 million. You know, I liked Rachael Ray at first, but I'm waaaay over her. She was too everywhere, too fast. But being everywhere apparently meant lots of cash for Rachael, since she's bringing in $18 mil a year. That includes her Food Network shows, her magazine, her talk show, her EVOO brand olive oil and her Dunkin' Donuts endorsement.