First things first, it’s important to explain that chefs don’t have Michelin stars – restaurants do. The Michelin guide will award stars based on the caliber of the food served and the quality of the ingredients, not just on the ability of a single chef in the kitchen. However, if a particular chef is very closely affiliated to a restaurant and is heralded as the key to its success, you’ll often hear people refer to Michelin stars as their personal achievements – even if it isn’t strictly correct.
For example, Alain Ducasse is no longer the head chef of his eponymous restaurant at The Dorchester with this role now assumed by Jean-Philippe Blonde. However, the restaurant’s impressive three Michelin stars are usually unofficially attributed to the lasting impact that Ducasse himself has made on the culinary world, along with the delectable cuisine the kitchen produces.
With this in mind, our guide to the chefs with the most Michelin stars refers to chefs who have secured the highest total number of Michelin stars across their restaurant empires at the time of writing. So, without further ado, meet some of the world’s most revered culinary masters of our era.
[See also: Why Michelin Star Restaurants Were Hit Hard by Covid-19]
Alain Ducasse – 18 Michelin stars
Alain Ducasse with Tom Kitchin and Jean-Phillipe Blondet / ©The Dorchester
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée***
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester ***
Le Meurice Alain Ducasse **
Le Louis XV***
Beige Alain Ducasse**
Alain Ducasse at Morpheus**
La Bastide de Moustiers*
L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle*
Alain Ducasse will surely go down in history as one of the culinary greats. Although Ducasse currently has a total of 18 Michelin stars across his restaurant empire, throughout the years the figure has been almost double this. Ducasse forged his career underneath some of the most noted chefs of the era, including Michel Guérard and Gaston Lenôtre, eventually taking on his first head chef role at La Terrasse at Hotel Juana. Under his leadership, the restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars in 1984.
Of his numerous outposts across the globe, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée and Le Louis XV tend to be the most well-known – and the most awarded, with each boasting the maximum three Michelin stars. Le Louis XV also holds the title of the first restaurant to ever achieve such an accolade.
While each of the three restaurants maintains Ducasse’s signature style, each has a slightly different focus: The Dorchester offers classic French haute cuisine in modern settings; Plaza Athenee focuses on sustainable fine dining and Le Louis XV serves traditional Ducasse dishes with a Mediterranean influence.
[See also: A Guide to All Thee-Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Spain]
Martin Berasategui – 12 Michelin stars
Berasatugei’s flagship restaurant, Restaurante Martín Berasategui received its first Michelin star just six months after opening / ©Restaurante Martín Berasategui
Restaurante Martín Berasategui***
eMe Be Garrote*
Ola Martin Berasategui*
At the time of writing, renowned Spanish chef Martín Berasategui boasts a total of 12 Michelin stars across his wide network of restaurants, the majority of which are in his home country. Although born in Spain’s Basque Country, Berasategui completed the majority of his culinary training in France, where he learned classic techniques under the likes of Didier Oudil, Michel Guerard and, at a later date, Alain Ducasse.
When Berasategui began his culinary career, there were no Michelin-starred restaurants in Basque Country, meaning he is now often heralded as a leader in the distinctive cuisine and accredited for bringing it to the world stage.
Berasatugei’s flagship restaurant, Restaurante Martín Berasategui – which he opened with his wife Oneka Arregui in 1993 – received its first Michelin star just six months after opening and was awarded the maximum three stars by 2001. Located less than five miles from his hometown, the Martín Berasategui Restaurant celebrates the bold flavors of Basque Country cuisine, using both classic and modern techniques.
Pierre Gagnaire – 12 Michelin stars
Gagnaire oversees the menu at the famous London hotspot, Sketch, including the three-Michelin-starred Lecture Room and Library / ©Sketch
Pierre Gagnaire, Paris***
Sketch (Lecture Room and Library) ***
Pierre Gagnaire, Tokyo **
Gaya par Pierre Gagnaire*
Pierre Gagnaire, Seoul*
Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire*
Having begun his career with a pastry internship at Nelson in the French city of Saint-Étienne in 1964, Pierre Gagnaire has climbed the culinary ladder to become one of the most celebrated chefs of our age, currently holding 12 Michelin stars across his restaurants.
While his signature cuisine remains true to the classic styles of French cookery, Gagnaire is not afraid to introduce innovative methods and ingredient combinations, with the chef’s ethos articulated in his mission statement: ‘Facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday.’ This strive for a modern and more creative take on traditional cookery has seen Gagnaire noted as being at the forefront of fusion cuisine.
Included in his wide list of starred restaurants is the flagship Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, which is found inside the opulent Hotel Balzac. Gagnaire also oversees the menu at the famous London hotspot, Sketch, including the three-Michelin-starred Lecture Room and Library, which we at Elite Traveler have named as one of London’s most exclusive destinations.
[See also: The Most Iconic Restaurants of the Elite Traveler Era]
Yannick Alléno – 11 Michelin stars
Yannick Alléno is unafraid to push the boundaries of fine dining while remaining respectful of its origins / ©Yannick Alléno
Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen***
L’Abysse au Pavillon Ledoyen**
Yannick Alléno is another French chef who is unafraid to push the boundaries of fine dining while remaining respectful of its origins. His immersion into the world of food began at an early age; he spent much of his time in the kitchens of his family’s bistros in his hometown of Paris. Since then he has cut his teeth in some of the world’s finest kitchens and worked with some of the most renowned chefs, including the likes of Roland Durand and Gabriel Biscay.
In his bid to transform the culinary world and leave a lasting impact on the industry, Alléno has hallmarked his own movement: Modern Cuisine. The Modern Cuisine manifesto outlines the use of fresh produce, respect for the seasons and highlighting foraged ingredients among its 18 guiding principles, pushing the movement firmly into the realms of sustainable fine dining.
Across his global restaurant network, Alléno currently has a total of 11 Michelin stars, including his two three-starred restaurants in France – one in Paris and the other in Courchevel – as well as other outposts in Seoul and Italy. All of his restaurants celebrate Alléno’s signature take on French cuisine in decidedly stylish settings.
Anne-Sophie Pic – 8 Michelin stars
Anne Sophie Pic was the first female French chef to earn three Michelin stars / ©Pic
Maison de Pic***
La Dame de Pic, London**
La Dame de Pic, Paris*
Across her five restaurants (including the flagship Parisian destination that has been in the family for almost a century), Anne-Sophie Pic currently holds an impressive eight Michelin stars. Adding an imaginative touch to her family’s classic style, Pic’s cooking is rooted in experimentation, with intriguing ingredient combinations and unusual methods often featuring on her menus.
In addition to making history as the first (and for now, only) female French chef to run a three-Michelin starred restaurant, Pic is also making waves on the sustainable cuisine scene. Elite Traveler recently named her among the new wave of eco-conscious chefs thanks to her emphasis on vegetables and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients. These attentions have also garnered Maison de Pic a green Michelin star.
In addition to Pic’s two Michelin-starred French restaurants, she also has acclaimed outposts in London and Switzerland, both of which remain true to her distinctive, modern style of cooking.
Andreas Caminada – 8 stars
Caminada in his vegetable garden / ©Schloss Schauenstein
IGNIV Bad Ragaz at Grand Resort**
IGNIV St. Moritz at Badrutt’s Palace**
IGNIV Zürich at Marktgasse Hotel*
Swiss chef Andreas Caminda has been running the three-Michelin-starred Schloss Schauenstein restaurant in the tiny town (the smallest in the world, in fact) of Fürstenau since 2003. The three set menus on offer are of varying lengths and each showcase the modern, thoughtful Swiss cuisine for which Caminda has become famed.
As well as receiving three of Michelin’s standard stars, Schloss Schauenstein has also been awarded a Green Michelin star in recognition of its commitment to using fresh organic produce, and support of farmers operating to the same high standards.
In addition to his first celebrated restaurant, Caminda has also gone on to launch the IGNIV group, which currently has four outposts. This includes IGNIV Bad Ragaz at Grand Resort and IGNIV St. Moritz at Badrutt’s Palace, which have both been awarded two stars by the Michelin guide, as well as the one-starred IGNIV Zürich at Marktgasse Hotel, bringing the total number of Michelin stars across Caminda’s empire to an impressive eight.
Gordon Ramsay – 7 Michelin Stars
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay holds the title of being London’s longest-running three-Michelin-starred restaurant / ©Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay***
Le Pressoir d’Argent – Gordon Ramsay**
Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay*
Gordon Ramsay au Trianon*
Gordon Ramsay’s hot-headed nature and notorious television series have garnered him quite the reputation. However, underneath the fiery exterior is a remarkably talented chef who has forged his own niche in an industry full of greats.
Ramsay has been exposed to the prestigious world of fine dining from early in his career, having famously trained underneath Marco Pierre White, Albert Roux, Joël Robuchon and Guy Savoy. His first experience of leading a kitchen came in the mid-nineties when he assumed the head chef position at Aubergine which, under his leadership, was awarded the maximum three Michelin stars.
Flash forward to the present day and Ramsay’s global restaurant empire is impressively diverse, spanning from lofty fine dining establishments to casual American-style grills. His signature Restaurant Gordon Ramsay contributes to three of Ramsay’s seven Michelin stars and holds the title of being London’s longest-running three-Michelin-starred restaurant. The menu showcases the finest of British ingredients, from Scottish seafood to Lake District lamb.
[See also: A Guide to All Three-Michelin Star Restaurants in the UK]