The Most Influential Chefs of All Time

Over 3.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Influential Chefs of All Time
Voting Rules
Vote up the world's most influential and important chefs who've changed the way we eat.

Bon Appétit! Ever wonder who the most influential chefs of all time are? Sure, super chefs Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay, and other famous TV chefs can be considered some of the best, but are they the most influential? Maybe for their time, yet they may be nowhere when it comes to cooking if it wasn't for some of the top world chefs before them. In other words, the chefs to follow were largely important in creating and exploring a great deal of dishes and cuisines, changing the way chefs approach food, as well as how we eat. 

While many of these renown chefs still grace the world with their delicious plates, others have since passed, leaving their great contributions behind for all of us to enjoy. From Frenchman Alexis Soyer to the award-winning Thomas Keller, these important chefs had a huge influence on a broad range of dishes, and they set the standard for chefs across the world. But who's the most influential chef ever?

Check out the list of top chefs in history below and be sure to vote up whoever you think had the greatest influence on food as we know it today. You can also vote chefs down and add any missing ones to the list. 

Most divisive: Charlie Trotter
Ranked by
  • Auguste Escoffier
    851 votes
    Dec. at 88 (1846-1935)

    Auguste Escoffier revolutionized French cuisine by emphasizing discipline, precision, and streamlining production in professional kitchens. Responsible for developing over 10,000 recipes, his impact on gastronomy is nothing short of monumental. The creator of haute cuisine, Escoffier's elegant yet simplified approach to cooking continues to inspire culinary professionals today.

  • Joël Robuchon
    1,051 votes

    Joël Robuchon, often hailed as "Chef of the Century," has had an unparalleled influence on contemporary cuisine. Specializing in simple, well-executed dishes such as his iconic potato purée, he refined classic culinary techniques to present innovative, sophisticated delicacies. His dedication to excellence won him a staggering number of Michelin stars throughout his career.

  • Jacques Pépin
    309 votes

    Jacques Pépin, a revered icon in the culinary world, embraces cuisine as an art and a science. His mastery of French cooking remains unrivaled, and his dedication to educating the public on the finer points of gastronomy is immensely inspiring. His commitment to using locally-sourced ingredients and teaching efficient cooking techniques continues to resonate with chefs of every generation.

  • Marco Pierre White
    652 votes

    Marco Pierre White, one of the youngest British chef ever to win three Michelin stars, is a renegade who revitalized the culinary scene with his daring, artistic talent. Mentored by Albert Roux and later Pierre Koffman, his distinctive yet refined British and French fusion has undeniably underscored generations of exceptional cooks, including names like his protégé, Gordon Ramsay.

  • Gordon Ramsay
    2,468 votes

    Gordon Ramsay, a firm fixture in the culinary world, is best known for his candid style and ferocious passion for perfection. This unyielding attitude has enabled him to achieve the rare feat of holding multiple Michelin stars concurrently. As a towering figure in modern gastronomy, he has tirelessly mentored countless young chefs, paving the way for budding talents worldwide.

  • Julia Child
    1,008 votes
    Dec. at 91 (1912-2004)

    Julia Child, the beloved trailblazer of American gastronomy, introduced the United States to authentic French cooking techniques in her revolutionary cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her success transcended print, popularizing cooking shows with her captivating on-screen presence during an era when culinary education was scarce. Through her infectious enthusiasm, Child unequivocally transformed America's relationship with food.