Here are just some of the responsibilities of the celebrity chef of 2014: Starring in top-rated televisions programs, managing charitable foundations, penning best-selling cookbooks, and overseeing an ever-expanding international portfolio of restaurants.

The concept of “celebrity chef” is nothing new, but prerequisites for the title have evolved—and demonstrably expanded. It’s no longer enough to be a proprietor of several critically acclaimed restaurants (critical appreciation being but one small part of a very big puzzle); today’s celebrity chef is the face and the force of a global megabrand, one that markets everything from artisanal burgers to ironclad cookware.

Given that being a celeb chef is big business, we examined the various assets of seven celebrity chefs and have our take—buy, sell, or hold—on their stock.


Gordon Ramsay

Gordon-Ramsay

Known for: Modern British cuisine, perfectionism, fiery TV antics

Core brand: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Representative dish: Beef Wellington

Defining moment: Earning his first three-star Michelin designation for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2001

Net worth: $118 million

Number of restaurants currently operating: 26

Number of Vegas restaurants: 0

Percent of currently operating restaurants abroad: 50% (13 abroad, 13 UK)

Current number Michelin stars: 7

Number of cookbooks: 21

Signature expression?: None, really—but known for eloquence with expletives.


TV show?: Yes, and he’s frightening in them. Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, The F Word, MasterChef & MasterChef Jr, and Hotel Hell, to name just a few of his United States programs.

Airport restaurant? Gordon Ramsey Plane Food in Heathrow airport

Line of products?: The Maze Dinnerware Collection with WWRD (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton). Unsurprisingly, a partnership with Kmart ended poorly.

Foundation or charitable organization?: Gordon Ramsay Foundation, which supports Cancer Research UK, Scottish Spina Bifida Association, Action Against Hunger, and other organizations of interest.

FWF prognosis: Buy, cautiously. This is a stock that can swing up and down—he’s currently operating 26 restaurants, but he’s also shuttered 23. With that said, he’s managed to retain an impressive number of Michelin stars. In Ramsay’s words, f*ck. (Photo: Forbes)


Emeril Lagasse

Emeril-Lagasse

Known for: Cajun and creole cuisine, “BAM!,” strong NOLA roots, and philanthropy work

Core brand: Emeril’s

Representative dish: Barbecue shrimp, banana cream pie, Andouille-crusted redfish

Defining moment: Opening Emeril’s New Orleans in 1990 and winning Esquire magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” award that same year

Net worth: $50 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 14

Number of Vegas restaurants: 4

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: 0%

Current number of Michelin stars: 0

Number of cookbooks: 18

Signature expression?: “BAM!” and “Kick if up a notch!”


TV show?: Yes. Several throughout his career, including the Food Network classics Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live! (he was one of the network’s first stars). Lately, Emeril’s Florida, The Originals, and Fresh Food Fast.

Airport restaurant? No.

Product line?: Yes, his own line of cookware, small appliances, and gourmet food items (such as his famous Essence seasoning blend).

Foundation or charitable organization?:  Yes, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which strives to create new opportunities for disadvantaged children.

FWF prognosis: It appears international expansion isn’t Lagasse’s thing (he’s a guy that sticks to his roots, albeit successfully), so we’re going to hold. With that said, he did win the 2013 James Beard Award for Humanitarian of the Year, and investors love their heartstrings pulled. Oh, what the hell, kick it up a notch—buy. (Photo: Emerils.com)


Guy Fieri

Guy-Fieri

Known for: The cult of Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives), flavor-blasted takes on American comfort food, the hair, this New York Times review

Core brand: Johnny Garlic’s, DDD

Representative dish: Cajun Chicken Alfredo, Donkey Sauce

Defining moment: Winning Next Food Network Star in 2006.

Net worth: $8 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 10, plus Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Cruises

Number of Vegas restaurants: 1

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: 0%

Number of Michelin stars: 0

Number of cookbooks: 3

Signature expression?: “Welcome to Flavortown!”

TV show?: TV is where Guy’s star shine’s brightest, with shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives winning legions of cult followers (tip: watch on mute). Also, Guy’s Big Bite and Guy’s Grocery Games.

Airport restaurant?: No. But does have a chain on Carnival Cruises, home of the Norovirus.

Product line?: Yes, a line of kitchenware, cookware, and pantry items (the best his Knuckle Sandwich knife set). Notably, he’s launching a jewelry collaboration with lifestyle brand Room101, which features takes on Fieri’s signature “bling,” such as stainless-steel dog tag necklaces, cufflinks, chain link bracelets, etc.

Foundation or charitable organization?:  The CWK Foundation, which encourages kids to learn how to cook at an early age.

FWF prognosis: Buy. Fieri may be the whipping boy du jour of food media, but Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square pulled in $16 million in sales last year. The Frosty-Tipped One can shift units. (Photo: AP/Jeff Christensen)


Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang-Puck

Known for: High-profile leader of the California-cuisine movement, caterer extraordinaire for the Academy Awards, delicious frozen pizzas

Core brand: Spago

Representative dish: Smoked-salmon pizza

Defining moment: Receiving his first two Michelin stars for Spago in 2008.

Net worth: $75 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 24 fine dining establishments, more than 80 casual (chain) restaurants

Number of Vegas restaurants: 6

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: Of fine dining, 13% (Cut has 3 locations abroad: Singapore, Dubai, and London)

Current number of Michelin stars: 3

Number of cookbooks: 8

Signature expression?: No.

TV show?:  You bet. Of his own, Wolfgang Puck and Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class. He has also appeared on Iron Chef America, Top Chef, and Hell’s Kitchen.

Airport restaurant?: Yes. Wolfgang Express in 13 airports across the U.S.

Product line?: A veritable empire of cookware and kitchen products, plus gourmet foods, including frozen versions of his signature pizzas.

Foundation or charitable organization?: Involved in a variety of charities, most notably running the WELL (Wolfgang’s Eat, Love, Live)™ program, which encourages the consumption of local, sustainable, and organic food choices.

FWF prognosis: Buy. This guy is special: He manages to retain an elite, Oscar-worthy aura while peddling goods on the Home Shopping Network and marketing frozen pizzas. Also, if you’ve ever eaten at an airport Wolfgang Express, you know you want to see that chain expanding internationally. ASAP. (Photo: Amanda Marsalls)

Bobby Flay

Bobby-Flay-Eater

Known for: Elevated Southwestern and Tex-Mex, Food Network’s de facto grill master, those steely blue eyes

Core brand: Bobby’s Burger Palace, Mesa Grill

Representative dish: The Signature Crunchburger

Defining moment: Mesa Grill’s designation as “Restaurant of the Year” in 1992 by New York Magazine‘s Gael Greene

Net worth: $9 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 25

Number of Vegas restaurants: 2

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: 0

Current number of Michelin stars: 0

Number of cookbooks: 11

Signature expression?: No.

TV show?: Yes, Flay holds an impressive roster of TV shows (15 total past and present), most notably Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Worst Cooks in America, Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. He’s also had a couple of memorable appearances on Iron Chef America. 

Airport restaurant?: No.

Product line?: An array of sauces and rubs for grilling, plus a line of cookware, grill items, and kitchenware for Kohl’s

Foundation or charitable organization?:  No, although he is actively involved in charity work.

FWF prognosis: A tough one. His international empire is wanting, but his sheer domestic earning potential (people love burgers, blue eyes, and the Food Network) gives him a domestic edge. If you’re in the potential of his U.S.-bound empire, buy. Otherwise, hold. (Photo: AP)

Mario Batali

Batali_FoodBank

Known for: Simple, ingredient-driven Italian cooking, Eataly, the orange crocs

Core brand: Babbo, Eataly

Representative dish: Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Defining moment: Winning the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef of the Year” award in 2005

Net worth: $25 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 23 restaurants, 2 Italian markets

Number of Vegas restaurants: 4

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: 14% (3 restaurants abroad: Lupa in Hong Kong, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Singapore)

Current number of Michelin stars: 3

Number of cookbooks: 10

Signature expression?: No. Well, maybe something with “molto”?

TV show?: Yes, most notably Molto Mario, Spain…On the Road Again, and The Chew.

Airport restaurant?: No.

Product line?: Yes. Along with the (now seemingly requisite) line of kitchenware and cookware, he’s also collaborated with Crocs to produce his signature work shoes.

Foundation or charitable organization?: Yes, The Mario Batali Foundation, which focuses on children’s aid in the areas of health, wellness, and education.

FWF prognosis: BUY! For one, Eataly is a tremendously marketable concept—who doesn’t love wandering a fragrant food hall, slurping down wine, drifting from one charcuterie offering to another? His expansion tactics into China and Singapore feel well-informed. Plus, we secretly enjoy wearing Crocs around the house. (Photo: Melanie Dunea)

Todd English

Todd-English

Known for: Rustic Mediterranean cooking, bad-boy reputation, a healthy (and scandalous) Page Six presence

Core brand: Olives

Representative dish: Mediterranean flatbreads

Defining moment: Winning Bon Appetit’s “Restaurateur of the Year” and being named one of People’s 50 “Most Beautiful People,” both in 2001

Net worth: $15 million

Number of currently operating restaurants: 15, plus a Food Hall in New York City’s Plaza Hotel

Number of Vegas restaurants: 2

Percent of currently operated restaurants abroad: 13% (2 total, a Figs in Kuwait and Olives in Mexico City)

Current number of Michelin stars: 0

Number of cookbooks: 4

Signature expression?: No.

TV show?: Yes. Food Trip with Todd English on PBS.

Airport restaurant?: Yes, Bonfire in New York’s JFK and Boston’s Logan International airports

Product line?: Yes, a line of cookware available at HSN.com.

Foundation or charitable organization?: No, although he’s apparently focusing more on charity work after a DWI arrest and rehab stint this summer.

FWF prognosis: Common sense says sell: From debt to hot-tub scandals, English isn’t in prime investment form right now. With that said, this stock is probably as low as it’s going to get—courageous investors, take note. (Photo: ToddEnglish.com)

Net worth sources: FineDiningLovers & CelebrityNetWorth