20 Chefs Who Have Changed the Way We Eat Forever
These superstar chefs have changed the food industry for the better with their innovative recipes, game-changing techniques and memorable personalities.
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Julia Child is arguably one of the most well-known chefs in American history, credited to introducing the country to the art of French cuisine with her two-part cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking ($18), released in 1961. She went on to write a variety of other cookbooks and star in several TV shows, including The French Chef.
Anthony Bourdain was more than just a chef—he was a world-renowned traveler and storyteller. Bourdain changed the way the world eats with valuable lessons about finding local restaurants while traveling, the value of home cooking and not ordering fish on Mondays.
She started out her career as a nuclear budget analyst for the White House, but Ina Garten is now a household name thanks to her many cookbooks and Food Network show Barefoot Contessa. She’s known for her delicious, uncomplicated recipes, and Garten is a trove of useful cooking tips for both beginners and seasoned home chefs.
Martha Stewart does it all—cooking, gardening, entertaining, DIY crafts and decorating—and she’s contributed so much to the modern cooking scene, including tried-and-true recipes for classic dishes like chocolate chip cookies, roasted vegetables and more. No matter what you’re looking to make, chances are Martha Stewart has a recipe or even a whole cookbook dedicated to it.
The Food Network wouldn’t be complete without Alton Brown, who’s been involved with the channel for more than two decades. Brown’s signature show, Good Eats, uses a combination of classroom methods and silly sketches to explain how to create the perfect dish, encouraging people to think about the science involved in cooking. Take a look at his breakdown for the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
If you love baking, you know exactly who Duff Goldman is. The owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and the star of Ace of Cakes, Goldman takes a creative approach to baking, pushing the boundaries of conventional cake making. Plus, who can resist his warm, welcoming personality?
While perhaps best known as a swimsuit model, Chrissy Teigen launched a second act in her career as a cookbook author, releasing the two uber-popular Cravings books. Her recipes are accompanied by hilarious anecdotes from her life and helpful cooking tips, and she’s known for putting out-of-the-box twists on classic dishes.
If you’re a fan of traditional Southwestern and Mediterranean food, Bobby Flay has paved the way for these styles of cuisine. After winning Iron Chef, Flay made his mark on the food scene with restaurants all around the country and a variety of popular TV shows, including Boy Meets Grill.
While most people’s perceptions of Gordon Ramsay are based on his cutthroat personality and fiery temper, there’s no denying that he’s a talented chef. His signature dish, beef Wellington, is the perfect entree for a special occasion or holiday.
Rachael Ray’s warm, energetic, down-to-earth personality is magnetic, and her approachable recipes are something we can all appreciate. She came onto the scene with her “30-Minute Meals” series, and today, her franchise includes her daytime talk show, as well as several product lines, including cookware, home decor, pet food and more.
With dozens of restaurants and bistros around the world—including his flagship restaurant, Spago—Wolfgang Puck has certainly made his mark on the food industry. He introduced the world to gourmet pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar. His entrepreneurial spirit helped build an empire. Today, you’ll find Puck’s name on everything from cookware to canned soup.
Kick it up a notch! In addition to his fun catchphrases, Emeril Lagasse is known for his love of Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as his own “New New Orleans” style. His cooking show Emeril Live, ran for more than a decade, and today, you can enjoy his signature food at his restaurants around the country.
Often called the Dean of American Cookery, James Beard is the namesake of the James Beard Foundation, a culinary arts organization that presents coveted annual awards to chefs, restaurateurs, authors and journalists. In his day, Beard hosted the first-ever TV cooking show, paving the way for all of today’s popular celebrity chefs.
Whether you’re looking for meal prep tips or potluck recipes, Ree Drummond has your back. Known as “The Pioneer Woman” thanks to her blog and, later, TV show, Drummond creates hearty farmhouse foods for the whole family, and she also has a line of bright, floral-decorated kitchenware.
Jamie Oliver, the star of The Naked Chef, is known for his straightforward, approachable recipes. In addition to gracing the world with his deliciously simple meals, Oliver also made an impact with his campaign to improve children’s eating habits and school lunch systems.
California cuisine. Slow eating. Farm-to-table. Whatever you want to call it, we wouldn’t have this wonderful food trend today without chef Alice Waters. Waters opened her restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971, becoming one of the first eateries to source organic ingredients from local farmers and producers.
Giada De Laurentiis
If there’s one chef who’s shaped how we make modern Italian cuisine, it’s Giada De Laurentiis. This Food Network star specializes in making classic Italian dishes more accessible to home cooks, often tweaking recipes to make them more health-conscious.
Guy Fieri’s iconic show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives continues to shine a light on amazing family-owned eateries all around the country. Fieri doesn’t shy away from bold flavors or greasy grub, and he’s inspired a nation to discover the great food being served at their local dives.
Chloe Coscarelli has been at the forefront of the vegan movement, becoming the first vegan to win a culinary competition on television and launching the plant-based restaurant chain By Chloe. To date, she’s released several cookbooks of vegan recipes ($22) that are fun and full of flavor.
If you tune into the Food Network, you’ll regularly see chef Alex Guarnaschelli pop up on your screen. Guarnaschelli is passionate about American ingredients and green-market menus, and she’s currently the executive chef at Butter restaurant in New York.