Joël Robuchon – 31 stars
It is impossible to discuss the world’s most Michelin starred chefs without mentioning the late Joël Robuchon. He achieved the record of the holding the most Michelin stars of any chef, with 32 stars at one time. At the time of his death, Robuchon held 31 stars.
This French chef and restaurateur is known as the pioneer of the post- nouvelle cuisine era, and his relentless perfectionism has translated into a more authentic, timeless French cuisine. His dishes were known for being simple, rooted in french cooking styles, allowing the flavour of his ingredients to shine as nature intended.
Robuchon is also the former mentor of another talented chef on this list—Gordon Ramsay. Like his famous mentee, he’s known for having a hot temper, and both chefs have acknowledged tension between them after Robuchon hurled a plate at Ramsay and Ramsay stormed out of the kitchen.
While he retired from cooking at age 50, that’s when he began to open up his various restaurants and rack up his impressive tally of Michelin stars.
Martín Berasategui – 10 stars
Martin Berasategui is currently decorated with ten stars, more than any other Spanish chef. He specializes in Basque cuisine and has been cooking for around 44 years now.
He first began to cook at age 14 in his parents’ restaurant before travelling to France to study under some of the best chefs in the world. Once he returned home he took over his family’s restaurant and earned his first Michelin star.
When his father decided to close the restaurant, Berasategui decided it was time to open his own, named after himself, in Lasarte-Oria. This exceptional Basque chef earned his first Michelin star at the age of 25 for Restaurante Martin Berasategui.
This restaurant, as well as one of his other restaurants, Lasarte, have three stars each, making him one of three chefs to have multiple three-starred restaurants under their name.
Martin has said that to him, receiving a Michelin star is like touching heaven with his fingertips.
Pierre Gagnaire – 10 stars
Following in his father’s footsteps who owned a Michelin starred restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire now owns four: his titular restaurant in Paris with three stars, Sketch in London with another three, and Bernard Magrez’s Grande Maison in Bordeaux, France and Pierre in Hong Kong with two stars each.
Gagnaire was born in France and made his name as a chef by revitalizing classic french cooking with unexpected flavours, textures, and ingredients. Pierre opened one of his earlier restaurants in a restored art deco house which brought many contemporary artists to his restaurant and inspired him and his cooking greatly.
His restaurant Sketch is filled with differently themed lavish rooms and iconic egg-shaped bathrooms to match his unique cuisine.
Alain Ducasse – 7 stars
While Alain Ducasse holds seven stars now, throughout his career he has had a total of 21, the most of any chef besides Robuchon. As the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin Stars in three different cities, the renowned chef and restaurateur has opened over 25 restaurants across the globe, including his world-renowned flagship restaurant, three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
This Monégasque chef, who is originally from France, is known for his perfectionism not only the kitchen, but in every minute detail of the restaurants he owns. Spoons, butter dishes, tablecloths, font on the menu – even curtain rods won’t escape the man’s scrupulousness.
In addition to being known for world-class French cuisine, Ducasse is the only chef on this list who has sent his food into space. In 2015, Ducasse sent meals to astronauts orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station, an accomplishment that Ducasse said he viewed as conquering ‘ the final frontier (of cooking)’.
Get a taste of Ducasse’s unrivalled creativity in one of Truly’s Dining Experiences with Alain Ducasse At The Dorchester, London’s famous three Michelin Star restaurant.
Thomas Keller – 7 stars
It now boasts three Michelin stars as does Keller’s New York City restaurant Per Se, making him the first and only American to earn three-star ratings for two different restaurants at the same time.
Umberto Bombana: 7 stars
Born in Northern Italy, Umberto Bombana was inspired to cook by his grandmother who cooked for an aristocratic family while he was growing up. At age 45, after moving to Hong Kong, Bombana opened his first solo restaurant called 8 ½ otto e Mezzo – Bombana. The restaurant became the first Italian restaurant outside of Italy to receive three stars.
Umberto Bombana has one title to top all other chefs’ Michelin stars: he’s the king of white truffles. So much so that in 2006 he was appointed the worldwide white truffle ambassador by the Piedmontese Regional Enoteca Cavour. He got this title by introducing white truffles to the local crowd at his first restaurant which now serves one of the highest quantities of white truffle in the world.
Gordon Ramsay – 16 stars
If Michelin stars were awarded on celebrity alone, Gordon Ramsay would probably have all of them. Known for his volatile kitchen demeanour and exceptional British cuisine, Gordon Ramsay has made his way onto television screens in just about every part of the English-speaking world.
This Scottish born chef, whose name is attached to 35 restaurants globally, has been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total and currently holds seven. His signature restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London, has held three stars since 2001.
After studying hotel management in college, this Scottish born chef began to train with some of the world’s leading chefs, including Robuchon in France. Like his famous mentor Joël Robuchon, Ramsay has a short fuse that, perhaps, has overshadowed his culinary achievements in recent years.
In 2014, Ramsay famously broke down in tears after his New York restaurant went from two-star to no-star status. This setback didn’t stop Ramsay from immense success though. Recently, Ramsay was tied with Beyonce as the 34th highest-Gordon Ramsay’s net worth is estimated to be worth as much as $190 million. Ramsay is currently ranked the 35th highest-earning celebrity in the world, trumping the likes of Rihanna and Bradley Cooper.
Get a taste of this infamous chef’s food at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill. Located in one of London’s most iconic hotels, The Savoy, the glitzy Art Deco restaurant has long been synonymous with fame and class, having played host to the likes of James Dean and Lord Attenborough.
Heston Blumenthal – 6 stars
credit: Garry Knight
Ramsay isn’t the only celebrity chef, with Heston Blumenthal boasting an array of television shows and appearances as well. His celebrity is based on the unique ways he incorporates science into his dishes; he advocates for scientific understanding in cooking and has pioneered multi-sensory cooking and food pairing. He believes eating is one of the few activities humans do which uses all of the senses simultaneously.
When experimenting with science and food pairing he created recipes by identifying molecular similarities between different ingredients and combining them in a dish. One widely known creation of this method is white chocolate caviar. However, he sees this method as a tool for his creativity and not a substitute for a chef’s culinary intuition.
His restaurant The Fat Duck has not only won three Michelin stars but it was voted number one in The World’s Best 50 Restaurants in 2005. His work is so well known that he has even been invited to make a meal for the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Bjorn Frantzé – 5 Stars
The first-ever Swedish restaurant to win three Michelin stars, Bjorn Frantzé serves a unique vision of Nordic cuisine at his Stockholm based eatery, Frantzé. Owning several other restaurants throughout Stockholm, Frantzé was a professional football player for five years before starting his career as an award-winning chef.
Beginning his culinary journey as a chef in the Swedish Army, Frantzé has worked at other Michelin-starred restaurants specializing in classic French cuisine, including Le Manior aux Quat’ Saisons and Alain Passard’s three-Michelin-starred L’Arpège in Paris.
Michael Ellis, International Director of the Michelin guides claims that “Björn Frantzén’s gastronomic expression is truly worth the journey, and is a gustatory experience like no other.”
While he utilizes Nordic ingredients, he also takes inspiration from Japanese Omakase philosophy which is more light and fresh, giving his Nordic cooking a more modern edge. Besides owning another two-star restaurant, Zèn in Singapore, Frantzén is also the creator of the Exceptional Swedish Quality Food project, which has been working to lift Swedish raw products to world-class standard.
Eneko Atxa: 5 stars
Eneko Atxa is a Spanish chef from Basque Country. He grew up watching his mother and grandmother cook while learning the folklores of a Basque kitchen. His cuisine is traditional but uses new techniques and gastronomy to enhance it. The first restaurant he opened was Azurmendi in Larrabetzu, Spain which has three Michelin stars.
Atxa is committed not only to serving authentic while modern food, but also to doing so in an environmentally responsible atmosphere. The World’s Best 50 Restaurants awarded Azurmendi as the world’s most sustainable restaurant; they use environmentally friendly materials, recycle their own waste, harvests rainfall, and cool the restaurant using geothermal energy.
Massimiliano Alajmo: 5 stars
While Massimiliano (Max) Alajmo’s five stars is surely a mark of his individual talent, it’s also based on generations of hard work in the restaurant industry. Max is the fifth generation of the Alajmo’s to be self-employed as chefs and restaurateurs.
He first began to cook at his parents’ restaurant, Le Calandre, by working with his mother who had already earned the restaurant its first Michelin star. When Max eventually became the executive chef, the restaurant soon earned its third star as well.
He is the youngest chef in history to be awarded three stars at age 28. He currently oversees the kitchen of the Alajmo family’s three restaurants, cafe-bistros, and their line of food products.
Max also has studied the sense of smell and how it relates to the dining experience. He has become a master perfumer and launched essential oil sprays that can be used as taste accelerators.