The Michelin star is undoubtedly the highest honour within the international culinary industry. Chefs all over the world dedicate their lives to earning just one coveted star, in recognition of their excellence. Breaking the barriers of Michelin star standards, there are those select few who have managed to collect an astounding number of stars in their constellation. We take a look at the world’s most decorated Michelin star chefs, and why they are considered to be the best chefs in the world.
Alain Ducasse – 17 Michelin Stars
Synonymous with breaking Michelin stars records, Alain Ducasse currently holds 17 Michelin stars, making him the current living chef with the most Michelin stars in the world. Considered by many to be the best chef in the world, he’s built a business empire over the years with 36 restaurants spanning across the globe, including his world-renowned flagship restaurant in London, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. He’s also one of only two chefs to hold 21 Michelin stars throughout his career and the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin Stars in three cities.
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)’.
If leaving the stratosphere is a bit out of your way, you can experience the unrivalled genius creativity of Alain Ducasse with a tasting menu at Alain Ducasse At The Dorchester, London’s famous three Michelin Star restaurant.
Pierre Gagnaire – 14 Michelin Stars
Another renowned French chef, Pierre Gagnaire has spent his 40-year career collecting Michelin stars. Growing up in his family’s Michelin-star kitchen, he received his first star when he was just 26 and hasn’t stopped since. This iconoclastic chef is said to be ‘at the forefront of the fusion cuisine movement’ by the Michelin guide, famous for tearing down the conventions of classic French cooking.
Gagnaire’s eponymous flagship restaurant in Rue Balzac in Paris has maintained three Michelin stars for more than two decades, a true feat in the culinary world. Today he oversees 18 gastronomic restaurants around the world, including three-starred Sketch in London.
Martin Berasategui – 12 Michelin Stars
Haven’t heard of Martin Berasategui? Well, it’s about time you had. As the world’s third most decorated Michelin star chef, the San Sebastian-born chef currently has twelve stars under his belt, more than any other Spanish chef. He’s also one of a select few chefs in the world who have two triple Michelin-starred restaurants to their name.
This exceptional Basque chef earned his first Michelin star at the age of 25 and opened his first restaurant, Restaurante Martin Berasategui, in 1993. Restaurante Martin Berasategui was awarded a third Michelin Star in 2001. Since the opening of his San Sebastian eponymous restaurant, Berasategui opened three other Michelin-starred restaurants in Tenerife and Barcelona.
Anne-Sophie Pic – 8 Michelin stars
Anne-Sophie Pic currently is the most decorated Michelin starred female chef in the world, holding eight Michelin stars across her five restaurants. Interestingly enough, this French chef had no formal culinary training when she assumed leadership of her family’s restaurant Maison Pic after her father’s death in 1997. After earning three stars for the restaurant, Pic opened up a second restaurant, Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic, which celebrates her family’s culinary lineage from Valence. It aims to demonstrate the inventive innovative spirit that, as the Michelin Guide itself says, “binds the history of the Pic family with that of French gastronomy.”
Gordon Ramsay – 7 Michelin stars
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 throughout his career, but now holds seven. His signature restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London, has held three stars since 2001, making it London’s longest-running three Michelin-starred restaurant.
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. In 2019 the chef took the spot on Forbes list as the 35th highest-earning celebrity in the world (one up on Rihanna). As of 2020, Gordon Ramsay’s net worth is estimated at $220 million, most of which comes from his popular TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and Master Chef.
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 glitzy Art Deco restaurant has long been synonymous with fame and class, having played host to the likes of James Dean and Lord Attenborough.
Thomas Keller – 7 Michelin stars
The Michelin guide might not be the ultimate honour amongst chefs in the United States, but Thomas Keller has gone about setting a fine example – he’s the most decorated chef in America, holding seven stars. He’s also the only American chef to hold all six out of his total seven stars simultaneously.
One of his five restaurants, three Michelin starred The French Laundry recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and was on two occasions deemed the best restaurant on the planet. Keller, a California native, is widely celebrated in America for his French-style cooking, and he has made a good name for himself in France. Safe to say he’s one of (if not the) best chef in America.
Yoshihiro Murata – 7 Michelin stars
With four restaurants across the world and seven Michelin stars, this Japanese chef is a hugely respected culinary icon, promoting Japanese cuisine on the local and global stage for almost 50 years. Considered to be the master of kaiseki cuisine, in 2020 he was named the recipient of the prestigious American Express Icon Award as part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards programme. Murata is the third-generation owner of his family’s century-old three-Michelin-star ryotei [high-end Japanese restaurant], Kikunoi in Kyoto, where he pays tribute to his forefathers’ classic kaiseki cuisine through a fresh and modern approach.
Murata’s latest venture is Tokimeite, an authentic Waygu restaurant located in upscale Mayfair. The expansion of his culinary empire into Europe is not the only sign of his global success. Heston Blumenthal, another Michelin-starred chef on this list, studied under Murata in Japan when he was 30 years old, and the British chef considers Murata to be an influence on his cooking style. More recently, Murata has focused his attention on promoting traditional Japanese cuisine, playing a large role in the addition of “washoku” to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Seiji Yamamoto – 7 Michelin Stars
This brilliant Japanese chef famously sent an eel for a CT scan to better understand its anatomy. Besides his commitment to understanding the science of cooking, Seiji Yamamoto is known for blending the revered cooking traditions of kaiseki with modern molecular gastronomy techniques. In 2019 he was voted as the first-ever winner of the American Express Icon Award, a nod to his contribution of integrating avant-garde cooking with classic Japanese traditions.
After its opening in 2002, Yamamoto’s Tokyo restaurant Ryugin quickly became a destination for other culinary geniuses, including Joël Robuchon. After more than 15 years in Roppongi, in 2018 the Japanese chef relocated his iconic three-Michelin star restaurant to a plot three times the size of the original, in Tokyo’s modern Hibiya Midtown luxury development. He now commands two overseas branches, one in Hong Kong and the other in Taipei, both of which have featured on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Yamamoto’s love for cooking has spanned many years; as a boy he began cooking to impress his mother, and he subsequently spent 11 years training at Aoyagi, a kaiseki restaurant owned by master chef Hirohisa Koyama. Considered to be one of Japan’s gastronomic luminaries for more than a decade and a half, his cooking style aims to reflect the preciousness of Japanese delicacies, elevating hyper-seasonal ingredients into small works of art.
Heston Blumenthal – 6 Michelin stars
Heston Blumenthal needs little introduction. Arguably one of the most famous chefs in the world, this celebrity chef-proprietor holds six Michelin stars and has even been awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen, for services to gastronomy,. His interest in cooking sparked on a childhood holiday in Provence, France during a meal at Michelin-starred L’Oustau de Baumanière. Although this innovative chef discovered his love for cooking at a young age, he worked a variety of jobs before settling into his calling. While working as a repo man and a credit controller, Blumenthal taught himself the art of French cooking in his free time.
Blumenthal, like a few other chefs on this list, is fascinated with the science behind food. He is known for experimenting with food pairing, the science of identifying molecular similarities in different ingredients and combining them in a dish. The turning point in Blumenthal’s career came in 1995 when he opened his restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire. In 2005, The Fat Duck was named the best restaurant in the world, famous for its fourteen-course tasting menu featuring dishes such as nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream. His other London-based Michelin star restaurant, Dinner by Heston, celebrates British culinary triumphs through the ages, serving that iconic ‘meat fruit‘ and even a nitro-fuelled ice cream cart.
Masahiro Yoshitake – 6 Michelin Stars
Yet another Japanese chef on the list, Masahiro Yoshitake has managed to rack up six Michelin stars with just two restaurants. Dreaming of becoming a chef from a young age, he took his father’s advice to become a sushi chef, working at sushi restaurants from his high school years until he was transferred to New York. Interested in promoting Japanese cuisine beyond California rolls, he returned to Tokyo to open Sushi Yoshitake, an intimate seven-seater sushi bar which Yoshitake runs with a team of four, his wife managing front of house.
The highly acclaimed restaurant in Ginza was awarded three Michelin-stars in 2012, the year of its induction into the Michelin Guide, and is currently the only Michelin 3 star omakase in Tokyo. Omakase is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it up to you”, a common practice in Japan which allows the chef to showcase seasonal ingredients through a series of inventive dishes and special sushi. Taking photographs while dining isn’t permitted, allowing diners to experience complete and utter dedication from Yoshitake and his team as they work behind the pale blond hinoki wood sushi counter. Since then Yoshitake has expanded to Hong Kong, opening Sushi Shikon in Landmark Mandarin Oriental which has been awarded three Michelin stars each year since 2014.
Yannick Alleno – 6 Michelin Stars
Yannick Alleno directs eighteen restaurants across the world. His Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, situated in the square gardens in the eastern part of the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement. It’s a constellation of Michelin stars, featuring three star-rated restaurants in the French Michelin Guide 2020. It 2020 Pavillon Ledoyen became the most star-rated independent establishment in the world.
This French chef is not just about getting stars; since 2013, Yannick Alléno has been carrying out research and development on French cuisine to the point of starting his own culinary movement, named Modern Cuisine. As part of his research, he closely studied sauces and even patented a technique, Extractions®, a process which he says allows the concentration and perfection of flavours, providing them with texture, a long finish and minerality.
Special Mention: Joël Robuchon – 31 Michelin stars
Joël Robuchon, widely known as the ‘Chef of the Century,’ passed away on 6 August 2018 is currently decorated with 28 stars. This French chef is known as the pioneer of the post- nouvelle cuisine era, and his relentless perfectionism has translated into a more authentic, timeless French cuisine. Owner of 12 restaurants across the globe, Robuchon is also the former mentor of another talented chef on this list—Gordon Ramsay. Like his famous mentee, he’s known for having hot temper, and both chefs have acknowledged tension between them after Robuchon hurled a plate at Ramsay and Ramsay stormed out of the kitchen.
Interested in trying world-famous Michelin starred food? Discover our range of mouth-watering Michelin Star Dining Experiences featuring Joël Robuchon, Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay, and many more.
- 1 Alain Ducasse – 17 Michelin Stars
- 2 Pierre Gagnaire – 14 Michelin Stars
- 3 Martin Berasategui – 12 Michelin Stars
- 4 Anne-Sophie Pic – 8 Michelin stars
- 5 Gordon Ramsay – 7 Michelin stars
- 6 Thomas Keller – 7 Michelin stars
- 7 Yoshihiro Murata – 7 Michelin stars
- 8 Seiji Yamamoto – 7 Michelin Stars
- 9 Heston Blumenthal – 6 Michelin stars
- 10 Masahiro Yoshitake – 6 Michelin Stars
- 11 Yannick Alleno – 6 Michelin Stars
- 12 Special Mention: Joël Robuchon – 31 Michelin stars