Julie-Ann is a longtime freelance writer who loves sharing her knowledge of chefs and cooking with others.
Gordon Ramsay, Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver—you likely know these names and many others. From cookbooks to TV shows to radio shows, these amazing chefs all have something to offer. But who made #1 on our list? Below, we introduce each famous chef in detail. Read on to learn more about these celebrated culinarians from the UK.
10. Jamie Oliver
Also known as 'The Naked Chef' (the title of his first TV show), Jamie Oliver is a very popular television celebrity known for cooking—not for being nude. He didn’t even like the show title, but it made him very popular. He has starred in many other shows on television, including Jamie’s Kitchen, Jamie’s Kitchen Australia, Jamie’s School Dinners and many more.
Oliver is one of the most recognisable chefs today, and some of his television programmes have aired in other countries, such as the Emmy Award–winning show Jamie's Food Revolution on ABC in the United States. Additionally, his programmes have been broadcast in the UK, the USA, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Iceland. He has also done numerous specials, including Jamie's Fowl Dinners and Eat to Save Your Life. His books have been translated into 30 languages and become bestsellers. For example, Jamie's 30 Minute Meals sold a million copies in the UK and became one of the fastest-selling nonfiction books of all time.
He was won numerous awards, too, including the Emmy Award for the Best Reality Series, the TED Prize, the Observer Food Monthly Food Personality of the Year award and the IACAP cookbook award.
9. Rick Stein
This British chef specialises in fish and owns four different restaurants, a café, a seafood restaurant, bistro and a patisserie shop. He also has a cookery school and more than 11 cookery books to his name. He has become a popular figure on BBC television through Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea, Fruits of the Sea and more. This chef is well-loved and respected for his unique culinary talents. You will find that his name is well-known throughout the world.
Stein grew up in Oxfordshire and attended Uppingham School and later went to New College, Oxford. He opened his first business in 1974, and it's still one of his restaurant locations. Today, he is the owner and head chef at Rick Stein in Bannisters located in Mollymock, New South Wales, in Australia. He also owns restaurants in Padstow, Flamouth, Cornwall and other locations.
His restaurants have won the RAC Sunday Times Taste of Britain Best Restaurant Award in 1984 and the AA Award English Seafood Restaurant of the Year in 2002. He also was featured in the Hotel and Restaurant Magazine Seafood Restaurant of the Year edition in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003.
He himself has won numerous awards, including the CaterSearch 100 14th Most Influential Chef in the UK in 2005. He won the Cornwall Tourist Award for outstanding service to Cornwall in 2002 and the Glenfiddich Trophy in 2001.
8. Keith Floyd
Keith Floyd, who died in September 2009, was a well-known chef that started out in the '70s owning restaurants. Unfortunately, his restaurants would soon crumble and close their doors. He wrote a book called Floyd’s Food prior to becoming famous as a chef. He was also known as a radio personality or radio chef in Bristol, and then he forged into the spotlight on television as a TV chef.
His financial problems continued until about 2008 when he took on a new venture restaurant called Floyd’s Brasserie in Phuket. He also owned a bar called Koh Samui in Thailand. Keith Floyd travelled around the world to perform cooking shows and was even featured on children’s television series.
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7. Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson is known as a cooking writer but has always had a passion for demonstrating cooking on TV as well. She has written several books about cooking, including How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess and others. The Sunday Telegraph has dubbed her work as valuable. She even won Author of the Year for the British Book Awards in 2001.
She hosted her own cooking show on television known as Nigella Bites, and she had almost 2 million viewers around the United States. Some critics found her too flirtatious, while others praised her charisma. She had a second show with Channel 4 called Forever Summer with Nigella, which focused on how cooking could make you feel like you were constantly on a vacation or holiday. Nigella Lawson is a very successful television personality known today as a favourite chef.
6. James Martin
James Martin is a celebrity chef that has been on television since 1996. He has appeared on many programmes, such as James Martin: Yorkshire’s Finest, Ready Steady Cook, Stately Suppers, Comfort Food, Can You Cook It and many more. He has also held specials for children in need. He is well-known in Britain for being one of the finest chefs.
Martin has a range of cookware on the market. He has also released appliances for cooking, like the range brand of Premium Appliances. He's even assisted with designing other brands, like Bigblue Product Design.
Outside of cooking, Martin is known for ballroom dancing and his passion for fast race cars.
5. Antony Worrall Thompson
Antony Worrall Thompson started as a sous chef at Brinkley’s Restaurant; in less than a year, he became the head chef. He is one of the most famous chefs today and has won many awards in the kitchen, including the Mouton Roghschild and the Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne. He has worked for many notable restaurants, such as Wiz and Woz, Ménage a Trois, Old Luxters Barn and more.
Worrall Thompson has made many television appearances on Saturday Cooks, Saturday Kitchen, I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! and more. He also owns a holding company, AWT Restaurants. He owns the Windsor Grill, the Kew Grill and the Windsor Larder.
4. Delia Smith
Delia Smith wears many hats: She's a top chef, an author and a television personality. She started her career as a hairdresser at 16 but switched to cooking at the age of 21. She took a job as a cooking writer for the Daily Mirror’s magazine with editor Michael Wynn-Jones. She wrote for 12 years about cooking and famous chefs around the world. After making television appearances in Family Far, she soon became a resident cook on the BBC.
Smith has been on television teaching people how to cook for many years now, covering the most common and classic techniques. She even published a book entitled How to Cheat at Cooking. In 2008, Delia Smith signed a contract with the BBC for a six-part cooking series. Some of her notable dishes include Martelli pasta and a famous mashed potato.
3. Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay is well-known around the world for his flaring temper and his competitive cooking show Hell’s Kitchen. He is viewed by some as the meanest chef. Ramsay is certainly not afraid to tell someone what he thinks, which is where he gets most of his respect. He's also known as a restaurant consultant who helps restaurant owners flip their failures into successes, as seen in his show Kitchen Nightmares.
Ramsay is viewed as one of the top chefs, if not the best for his cuisines. He has won a total of 16 Michelin stars and held three stars at the same time. He is ranked third if judged by Michelin stars, currently being beaten by Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon.
2. Marco Pierre White
This English chef started with a Harveys restaurant in Wandsworth Common, London. This was a very large restaurant. Pierre White earned a Michelin star award almost as soon as the doors opened and a second award the following year. He won a third Michelin star award working in the dining room at the Restaurant Marco Pierre White. Memorably, he would personally cook a side of chips when patrons asked for some with their lunch rather than serving a bag of crisps. Gordon Ramsey has been an employee of his, along with other famous chefs like Bryn Williams and Jason Atherton.
Marco Pierre White is known to have a major temper but to be an amazing chef. His TV fame comes from appearances on Hell's Kitchen (he was one of the chefs who took over hosting duties after Ramsay left to make the American version of the show), The Chopping Block and the MasterChef series in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
1. Heston Blumenthal
Heston Blumenthal is a self-taught chef who has been seriously cooking since age 18. He has published many books on cooking, including Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking, The Fat Duck Cookbook and more. His primary focus is British cuisine. Discovery Science featured a television series called Kitchen Chemistry with Heston Blumenthal with seven different episodes on how to cook many favourite dishes. A book that went along with the programme was distributed to more than 6,000 schools in the UK and Ireland.
In 2008, Blumenthal signed a 2-year deal with Channel 4 that put him in the lineup with other chef personalities like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and many others. His programmes with Channel 4 have included Heston's Mission Impossible, How to Cook Like Heston and Heston's Fantastical Food. Additionally, Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection was a BBC series about the chef.
How He Taught Himself to Cook
So, what is Blumenthal's story? When he was just 16 years old, his family visited a 3-star restaurant in Provence. The beautiful surroundings and the excellent food really captured his heart. That experience led him to take the world of cooking by storm.
Before becoming the famous chef we know today, Blumenthal worked as a photocopier salesman, a debt collector and other things while he strove to improve his skills in French cuisine on his own. He worked hard to perfect his skills and then spent two weeks traveling through France to find the true culture of the cuisine.
After years of studying and more than two years of searching, he bought a 450-year-old pub in Bray in 1995. It took a lot of hard work to get the location into shape. The restaurant was called The Fat Duck. Once it was open, he got some good reviews and earned the Michelin star. In 2000, the location was closed and refurbished, then featured multi-course tasting menus when it reopened its doors.