Some may be global media celebrities and others virtually unknown in everyday life, but what all of these chefs have in common is that they have changed the culinary landscape forever. Here, with the help of our Fine Dining Expert Andy Hayler, Elite takes a look at The Most Influential Chefs of the Past Decade; whether they head up a successful international chain or are preparing extraordinary food from the kitchen of the tiniest of village restaurants.
Alinea – 3 Michelin Stars
One of the pioneers of molecular gastronomy, Grant Achatz is arguably the most inventive chef working in the world today.
His Chicago restaurant Alinea, Elite‘s Best Restaurant of 2012 and 2013, effectively demonstrates his exceptional skill and boundless creativity, with no menu choice – just a 25-course tasting menu including such delights as black truffle, sea urchins and even a dessert painted onto your tablecloth.
DANIEL, New York – 3 Michelin Stars
Daniel Boulud earns his place on the list for “maintaining quality cooking at scale”, says our resident food critic Andy Hayler. With a line of restaurants across the world, French-born Boulud is best known for his self-titled restaurant DANIEL on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, one of NY’s greatest culinary destinations.
Le Bernardin – 3 Michelin Stars
French born chef and TV personality Eric Ripert is credited with popularising high-end seafood cookery in New York. His New York establishment, Le Bernardin, holds three Michelin stars and is famed the world over for its spectacular seven-course tasting menu merging European and Eastern Asian flavors.
Nobu Las Vegas, Nobu London and Nobu Berkeley Street – 1 Michelin Star Each
Ever since the opening of his first US restaurant in Beverly Hills in the late eighties, Nobu Mathsuhia has undoubtedly changed the game for sushi in the West. Pointedly refusing to play by the rules, Saitama-born Nobu has proven that sushi can cater to all tastes and has been a lynchpin in the global explosion of Japanese cuisine over the past decade.
Raymond Blanc OBE
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – 2 Michelin Stars
Entirely self taught, Blanc has been a crucial ambassador for French cooking within the UK for almost forty years.
His first restaurant, Oxford’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, was an overnight success – rapidly gaining two Michelin stars – and his boulangeries, patisseries and brasseries have increased the UK’s appetite for healthy, affordable and authentic French cuisine on a large scale.
Heston Blumenthal OBE
The Fat Duck – 3 Michelin Stars
Whether it’s on our screens, working with scientists or within his internationally acclaimed restaurants, British ‘food magician’ Heston Blumenthal continues to push culinary boundaries as far as they will possibly stretch. From scrambled egg and bacon ice-cream to mock turtle soup to snail porridge, he strives to involve all of the participant’s senses in a fine dining experience quite unlike any other the world over.
Gordon Ramsay OBE
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – 3 Michelin Stars
One of the most recognizable chef faces in the world today, Gordon Ramsay reached the top through a powerful combination of skill and sheer determination, with his influence as a prominent media figure and restaurateur now spanning the globe. That’s not to forget his epicurean talents either; He trained with the likes of Albert Roux in the UK and Guy Savoy in France, with his first independent venture – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – receiving three Michelin stars within just three years.
Aqua – 3 Michelin Stars
Beautiful modern cooking next to a car factory is not something you would necessarily expect. But it’s what German haute cuisine aficionado Sven Elverfield provides at his restaurant Aqua in Wolfsburg, which is widely regarded as one of the best on the planet, offering a refreshingly unique take on classic European dishes to dazzling effect.
Die Schwarzwaldstube – 3 Michelin Stars
Oft praised as Germany’s finest chef and one of the best throughout the entire world, Harald Wohlfahrt’s Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube in the depths of the Black Forest is truly a place of wonder, offering a twist on traditional cuisine like no other. It is also the only restaurant in the country to maintain three stars for two decades: No mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.
Restaurant Vendôme – 3 Michelin Stars
Our critic Andy Hayler describes Wissler’s Restaurant Vendôme as “producing some of the most elaborate modern food anywhere”. With delights from hamachi sushi right through to bouillabaisse cropping up on its frequently updated menu, German chef Wissler has shown that he truly draws inspiration from all corners of the globe for his complex and awe-inspiring gourmet presentations.
La Pergola – 3 Michelin Stars
German born Heinz Beck has significantly altered the gourmet landscape with his own unique culinary philosophy. Producing exquisite Italian food with an emphasis on healthy heating, he has previously been quoted as saying: “Cookery. For me it’s an acronym: how to link communication, astonishment, nature and harmony.”
Osteria Francescana – 3 Michelin Stars
Described by our expert as ‘the supreme modernist Italian chef’, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena marries his two greatest loves: contemporary art and haute cuisine. Fusing traditional French methods with a radical approach, the gastronomic maestro’s creations are truly art-on-a-plate, forcing his contemporaries to significantly up their game and winning the restaurant its third Michelin star this year. Image credit: PA Jorgensen
Dal Pescatore – 3 Michelin Stars
Serving delicious Italian food in a stunning countryside setting, Nadia Santini is an extraordinary chef in more ways than one. In her acclaimed restaurant Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio – the only place she has ever worked – the traditionalist serves sublime gourmet cuisine to a limited number of guests, with an Old World approach that stands in bold contrast to the gastro scientists of today.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – 3 Michelin Stars (21 in total)
French chef and entrepreneur Alain Ducasse is what could be described as ‘wildly successful’ and represents the pinnacle of what is achievable in the world of gourmet cuisine. The current holder of 21 Michelin stars, his Paris restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée ranked 15th in the Elite Traveler World’s Top Restaurants Guide 2013, using only the best ingredients in every dish to ensure that each reaches its full potential.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Hong Kong & Tokyo – 3 Michelin Stars
Robuchon á Galera – 3 Michelin Stars (28 in total)
With 28 Michelin stars between all of his internationally renowned eateries, Robuchon is understandably known as the ‘King of Chefs’. Renowned for his perfectionism, the French maestro claims that there is no such thing as the perfect meal because “You can always do better.”
Les Prés d’Eugénie – 3 Michelin Stars
Now in his eighties and still going strong, Guérard is credited with inventing ‘cuisine minceur’ – a lighter and healthier form of traditional nouvelle cuisine. His legendary Les Prés d’Eugénie restaurant – part of the spa hotel he and his wife took over in the ‘70s – is undoubtedly one of the most iconic gastronomic addresses on the planet and continues to encourage pleasure seekers to descend upon the tiny village of Eugénie in their droves.
La Maison Troisgros – 3 Michelin Stars
Ever since the eighties, Michel Troisgros has proudly continued his family mantle of precise French cooking at their legendary restaurant in Roanna – the proud recipient of three Michelin stars since 1968. Learning from his grandparents and later his on father, Troisgros has shown the importance and value of holding onto a culinary legacy while simultaneously adding your own refreshing twist.
Restaurant de L’Hôtel de Ville – 3 Michelin Stars
The legendary Rochat continued the classical traditions of Fredy Girardet at the universally lauded Hotel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland. Although recently retired, the reverberations of his impact on fine dining in the past decade are still notable to the present day, meaning it would be simply bad table manners not to include him on our list.
elBulli – 3 Michelin Stars
Ferran Adria is not only one of the most influential chefs of the past decade, but of all time, creating in elBulli on the coast of Catalonia one of the most exhilarating fine dining experiences ever to have been in existence, which received up to one million reservation requests each year. Known as one of the greatest experimenters in the field of haute cuisine, a major retrospective exhibition on the history of elBulli and Adria’s career launches this month at London’s Somerset House.
One of Australia’s most accomplished chefs, Wakuda can lay sole claim to sparking the nation’s immense passion for fusion food. His first ever restaurant in Sydney, Tetsuya’s, won international acclaim for its Japanese fusion cuisine, with recently opened Waku Ghin on the luxurious Marina Bay Sands in Singapore adding yet another feather to his already illustrious cap.
Nihonryori RyuGin – 3 Michelin Stars
One of the most innovative chefs working in the world of Japanese haute cuisine today, Kagawa-born Yamamoto has revolutionised traditional kaiseki cooking at his eatery Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo ever since it opened back in 2003.
Training with Master Chef Hirohisa Koyama for over a decade prior to opening his own restaurant, Yamamoto’s merging of molecular gastronomy with traditional techniques has earned him global plaudits and he continues to open doors worldwide for the appreciation of authentic Japanese food.
Noma – 2 Michelin Stars
Responsible for bringing foraging in from the cold, Redzepi – co-owner of Denmark’s world famous Noma – created a totally fresh take on Scandinavian cuisine using clean, crisp flavors, foraged berries and locally sourced fish and meat. Rising rapidly through the ranks from humble beginnings to Noma’s 2004 opening with him in the role of head chef, Redzepi has demonstrated the true significance of using local ingredients and of playing close and respectful attention to nature and the changing of the seasons.
The French Laundry/Per Se – 3 Michelin Stars
Training in France in Michelin-starred Guy Savoy and Taillevent in his early years, Thomas Keller has potentially done more for the appreciation of French haute cuisine in the US than any other chef.
With six US restaurants and seven bakeries to his name, Keller’s continuous refusal to compromise on his own exceptionally high standards has resulted in him being the only US chef to be awarded two Michelin star ratings simultaneously for his renowned restaurants The French Laundry in Yountville and Per Se in New York.
Old Sluis – 3 Michelin Stars
Described by our expert as ‘the most demanding of modern chefs in terms of standards’, chef extraordinaire Sergio Herman has created in his family’s Old Sluis restaurant one of the most revered culinary destinations on the planet.
With a dedicated team of highly skilled staff and a vastly creative menu that varies from day-to-day, Old Sluis has undoubtedly raised the bar for the possibilities that the words ‘fine dining’ can truly represent – with months of hard work and preparation behind every dish.