While cooking is generally considered a feminine hobby, professional kitchens are dominated by men.
Many female chefs around the world have struggled to succeed in the industry for years. Some of these ambitious and successful female chefs are included here for your knowledge.
Let’s dive into the list of top 37 famous female chefs around the world:
1. Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson is possibly one of the most well-known names in the culinary industry. She is an English television cook and the author of several best-selling cookbooks. Aside from hosting various cooking shows, Nigella is also the owner of her cookware range called Living Kitchen which is valued at £7 million.
Lawson developed a knack for cooking at a young age by watching her mother in the kitchen. She published her first cookbook in 1998, which was a great success and her second cookbook followed soon after. Lawson is often regarded as one of the most beautiful and talented cooks of her generation.
2. Julia Child
Julia Child is a highly revered female chefs across the globe. She is mainly credited for popularizing French cuisine in America with her cookbook and television programs. Her show The French Chef (1963-1973) is still widely known and loved.
Julia was no ordinary cook. The daughter of a lieutenant governor and a paper-company heiress — she first developed an interest in cooking after meeting her husband, Paul Child. She studied with many master chefs of her time like Max Bugnard and became a cultural icon. In 2004, Julia Child passed away due to kidney failure.
3. Dominique Crenn
Dominique Crenn is a French chef known for her innovative and complex recipes. Raised in Brittany, Crenn developed a passion for cooking from an early age. She lived on a family farm and also visited various restaurants, trying out several cuisines during her childhood.
She has competed on several cooking shows and worked with many well-renowned names in the culinary industry. In 2016, Crenn became the only female chef in the United States with three Michelin stars for her restaurant, Atelier Crenn. She also presides over another restaurant called Petit Crenn, and a wine bar called Bar Crenn.
4. Cat Cora
Cat Cora is an American media personality, professional chef, and businesswoman. Born in a family of restaurateurs, Cora studied cooking both at home and in a professional setting. She debuted as a TV cook on Food Network’s Melting Pot in 1999.
In 2005, Cat Cora joined Food Network’s Iron Chef America as the first female chef on the show. Known for breaking conventions, Cora is highly regarded for establishing herself in the male-dominated world of culinary arts. She currently presides over seven restaurants across several locations in the United States.
5. Giada De Laurentiis
Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian-American professional chef, cookbook author, and TV personality. She picked up her love for cooking during her childhood years, spending time in the family kitchen and at her grandfather’s restaurant DDL Foodshow. De Laurentiis started her career after studying culinary arts at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. She soon began working in professional kitchens across several restaurants in Los Angeles.
Giada has hosted many cooking shows including Everyday Italian, Behind The Bash, and Giada Entertains, which won her an Emmy Award. She also owns three restaurants, two in Las Vegas and one in Baltimore, Maryland.
6. Clare Smyth
Clare Smyth is a Northern Irish professional chef and the owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant CORE. Smyth grew up on a family farm, surrounded by fresh produce. She first expressed her desire to pursue a professional career in cooking at the age of 15. She then left school and started studying catering at Highbury College when she was 16.
Smyth is best known for working at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay from 2012 to 2016. She started her solo career in 2016, opening CORE in London. Clare’s restaurant earned three Michelin stars in 2021, making her the first British woman to be awarded so.
7. Angela Hartnett
Angela Hartnett is an English professional chef who became well-known for appearing in several British cooking shows. She was born in Kent, but her mother moved to Upminster after her father died when she was only seven. Hartnett developed her palate under the supervision of her Italian maternal grandmother.
A large part of Angela’s career has been spent working under Gordon Ramsay. She worked at his first restaurant, Aubergine, and was also responsible for running the Angela Hartnett at The Connaught. Aside from her professional culinary career, Hartnett has appeared as a judge on cooking shows like Best Home Cook.
8. Elena Arzak
Elena Azrak is a Basque chef who serves as the joint head chef at the Michelin three-star restaurant, Azrak. The restaurant is managed by Azrak’s family, and she began working there at only 11 years of age. The restaurant was initially managed by her grandmother, but she soon became the head chef alongside her father.
While Elena had her own family restaurant to work for, her father had other plans. He sent her abroad to train at various well-renowned restaurants around the world. With Angela’s training under many fine international chefs, she was able to secure three Michelin stars for her family’s restaurant.
9. Alice Waters
Alice Waters is an American professional chef, author, and restaurateur. She was born in New Jersey and graduated from the University of California with a degree in French cultural studies. She spent some time in France and developed her own method of farm-fresh cooking, which involves using fresh produce from local markets. Her first restaurant, Chez Panisse, opened in 1971 and popularized her style of cooking.
Aside from her professional culinary career, Waters has authored several books and a memoir. She is also credited for being the inspiration behind Michelle Obama’s White House organic vegetable garden program.
10. Ana Roš
Ana Ros is a Slovenian chef known for running the Michelin two-star restaurant, Hisa Franko, based in Kobarid, Slovenia. As a child, Ros trained professionally in alpine skiing and then studied diplomacy. None of these career paths made sense to her. However, she was lucky enough to meet her partner, Valter Kramar, whose parents already owned the established Hisa Franko.
Kramar and Ros took over the restaurant when his parents retired. Soon enough, Ros’ innovative cooking style attracted widespread attention. Aside from her professional career, Ros has also appeared in the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table (2016).
11. Ina Garten
Ina Garten is an American author and television host. Born to a surgeon and dietician, Garten excelled at school due to her upbringing. She first discovered her love for cooking when she and her husband took a four-month trip to France. She then began studying Julia Child’s cookbooks and preparing food for weekly dinner parties to refine her cooking skills.
From 1978 to 1996, Garten ran the renowned specialty food store, Barefoot Contessa, in Westhampton Beach, New York which unfortunately shut down in 2004. She then moved on to publishing cookbooks and has authored eleven so far. Most recently, Garten appeared in Forbes‘ 2021 50 Over 50 list.
12. Hélène Darroze
Helene Darroze is a renowned French chef who has won six Michelin stars. Her three restaurants include the Helene Darroze at The Connaught which has three stars, the Marsan par Helene Darroze in Paris with two stars, and the Helene Darroze a Villa La Coste in Provenance which has one star.
Since the start of her career, Darroze has worked in the kitchens of some of the finest chefs of her time. She trained with Alain Ducasse and also worked with Gordon Ramsay. Darroze comes with a family of chefs, with three generations running their family restaurant which unfortunately closed in 1999 due to financial difficulties.
13. Leonor Espinosa
Leonor Espinosa is a Columbian professional chef, endearingly referred to as ‘Leo’ by people in her home country. She grew up studying economics, fine arts, and advertising and it wasn’t until 1998 that she began to take cooking professionally.
Espinosa first worked at the Bogota restaurant Claroscuro before she opened up her own restaurant Leo Cocina y Cava in 2007. Her innovative cooking style features traditional ingredients from cultural dishes and a mix of the various culinary styles that dominate the region. Espinosa’s recipes and cooking style celebrate and honor traditional Columbian cuisine in ways that many other chefs fail to.
14. Cristeta Comerford
Cristeta Comerford is a Filipino-American chef who has served as the White House Executive Chef since 2005, making her the first woman and Asian person to do so. She got enrolled at the University of Philippines with a degree in Food Technology but she left the program and immigrated to the United States.
Comerford began her career working for several restaurants in Chicago and Washington D.C. until she was sought out by Walter Scheib lll to work as an assistant chef in the Clinton White House. When Scheib resigned as White House Executive Chef in 2005, Comerford was appointed by Laura Bush and has held the post since.
15. Helena Rizzo
Helena Rizzo is a Brazilian professional chef and restaurateur. While cooking has been her passion since 1997, it wasn’t always the case. Rizzo first studied architecture and then worked as a model before moving to Sao Paulo to pursue cooking professionally at the restaurant Roanne.
Soon after she began her career, Rizzo began traveling to train under the finest chefs in Europe. She trained in Italy and Spain, then opened up her restaurant Mani in 2006 when she returned to Brazil. In 2015, Mani won its first Michelin star. Most recently, Rizzo was selected as a judge on MasterChef Brasil in 2021.
16. Daniela Soto-Innes
Daniela Soto-Innes is a Mexican chef and the youngest person to be named World’s Best Female Chef. Born and raised in Mexico, she credits her grandmother for teaching and fostering her love for cooking. Her grandmother ran a bakery where she first learned cooking.
Daniela opened up her first restaurant, Cosme, in New York when she was just 23 years old. After working for years in the male-dominated culinary world, Soto-Innes aims to give back to the women that helped her discover her passion for cooking with Cosme. Unfortunately, Soto-Innes left both her New York restaurants and currently serves as a regular judge on The Globe (2021-Present).
17. Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is an American celebrity chef, businesswoman, and media personality. She is one of the world’s most popular chefs with several cookbooks and shows to her name. As a child, Rachael gained exposure to the culinary industry through her mother who managed various restaurants in the Capital District of New York.
Ray enjoys simple cooking and gained popularity through her thirty-minute recipes. Her cookbooks include many of these simple recipes. Rachael has also hosted many shows, including The Rachael Ray Show, 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels, and Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
18. Paula Deen
Paula Deen is an American professional chef, TV personality, and cookbook author. At a young age, Deen lost both parents and married at 18 years of age. She suffered from depression and agoraphobia, so she spent all her time at home preparing food for her family. After Paula and her husband divorced, she started her catering service to support herself and her sons.
Paula’s inspiring story had just begun at this point. During her decades-long professional career, Paula has published fifteen cookbooks. She also owns and manages eight restaurants across several locations in the United States with her two sons.
19. April Bloomfield
April Bloomfield is a British chef who gained popularity after the opening of her two restaurants, The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room. Unfortunately, the Spotted Pig closed in 2020 due to sexual harassment claims by staff members. She has been a controversial figure in the culinary industry ever since.
As a child, April considered various career paths until she realized cooking was her passion while attending catering college. She worked at various restaurants in London and Northern London until she finally opened The Spotted Pig in 2003. The restaurant won a Michelin star two years after its opening.
20. Nancy Silverton
Nancy Silverton is an American professional chef and cookbook author. The 2014 James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef winner decided to become a cook while in her first year of college. Soon after, she dropped out and began training professionally at Le Cordon Bleu.
Even as a budding chef, many recognized her talents. Silverton’s main expertise was in baking, and she published her first cookbook called Desserts at the start of her career. She has opened many restaurants and bakeries and is credited with popularizing various breads. Currently, Silverton co-owns Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Mozza2Go, and Chi Spacca. She also launched her line of gelato and sorbetto flavors called Nancy’s Fancy.
21. Elizabeth Falkner
Elizabeth Falkner is an American chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur. As a child, Falkner dreamed of becoming a chef one day, but her first job was as a dishwasher at Cafe Claude. Soon after, she started training as a pastry chef under Traci Des Jardins at Rubicon.
From 1997 to 2014, Falkner opened three restaurants and two dessert cafes. Unfortunately, these ventures were all short-lived and closed down due to various reasons. Since then, she started focusing on teaching professional pastry courses, and appears as a judge on various cooking shows, namely the Top Chef TV series.
22. Anne-Sophie Pic
Anne-Sophie Pic is a French chef and the fourth female chef in history to win three Michelin stars for her family restaurant, Maison Pic. Born in a family of professional cooks, Anne-Sophie grew up watching her family work at their restaurant. While she initially pursued a career in management, Pic eventually realized that cooking was her passion.
She then began training under her father and took control of the restaurant in 1997. Her successful career wasn’t over there and she went on to open many new restaurants, earning herself seven more Michelin stars. Pic is considered one of France’s most renowned female chefs.
23. Lidia Bastianich
Lidia Bastianich is an Italian-American chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV host. The world-famous chef comes from humble beginnings and much of her early life was spent being a refugee. Her family fled from Yugoslavia to Trieste, Italy and then the United States. It was here that Lidia discovered her love for cooking and soon after, her family opened up their own restaurant called Buovania.
Since then, Bastianich has authored sixteen cookbooks and hosted several cooking shows. Some of her popular shows include Lidia’s Kitchen, Lidia’s Family Table, and Lidia’s Italy. Her son, Joe Bastianich, also served as a judge on MasterChef USA.
24. Cristina Bowerman
Cristina Bowerman is an Italian chef known for her Michelin star restaurant, Glass Historan, in Rome. She was born in southern Italy and worked as a graphic designer for several years in Austin, Texas. Soon after, Bowerman studied cooking professionally at Le Cordon Bleu and opened up her own restaurant on her return to Italy.
The Glass Hostaria opened in 2006 and saw many troubles for the first three years. As Bowerman’s experience grew, the restaurant won its first Michelin star in 2010. She then went on to open Romeo Chef & Baker and Giulietta Pizzeria. Bowerman has also appeared as a judge on the finale of the S. Pellegrino Young Italian Chef competition in 2018.
25. Carme Ruscalleda
Carme Ruscadella is a Spanish cook who was the head chef at the renowned Michelin three-star Sant Pau restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar until its unfortunate closure in 2018. She is also the owner and manager of the Michelin two-star Sant Pau de Toquio restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.
Ruscadella is one of the world’s most prolific chefs, with seven Michelin stars and three restaurants to her name. Her cooking style borrows traditional techniques from Catalan cuisine. She has also published various cookbooks featuring simple Mediterranean recipes like Cuinar per ser feliç (2001).
26. Mashama Bailey
Mashama Bailey is an American chef and the winner of the 2022 James Beard Award as Outstanding Chef. Her parents moved around often during her childhood, so cooking with her family was one of her biggest sources of joy. Bailey began her career as a social worker but after being let go, she began focusing on her culinary career.
She first started working as a personal chef, but soon shifted to working in professional kitchens. She opened her own restaurant called The Grey with John O. Morisano in 2018 after training for several years, followed by The Grey Market.
27. Lisa Goodwin-Allen
Lisa Goodwin-Allen is a British cook who is well-known for being the executive chef at the Northcote restaurant in Lancashire, England. The restaurant won its first and only Michelin star in 1996 but has maintained it to this day. Lisa’s began her career in the 1990s, working and completing catering courses simultaneously.
Despite being offered a full-time position at the Le Champignon Sauvage, she longed to return to her hometown in northern England. There, she began working at the Northcote at the age of 20 and soon after, she took charge of the restaurant just four years later.
28. Nadia Giosia
Nadia Giosia, better known as Nadia G, is a Canadian chef, TV personality, comedian, and punk rock singer. Back in the day, Nadia was a household name across Canada for her two TV shows, Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen and Bite This With Nadia G.
Born into a family of Italian immigrants, jokes were abundant in the kitchen and at the dinner table. This shaped Nadia’s personality and also honed her cooking skills. Giosia began her career with sketch comedies and eventually started working on her series Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen. While the show’s approach may have put off some viewers, it also made her show unique.
29. Nadia Santini
Nadia Santini is an Italian chef and the owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, Lombardy. The restaurant was awarded three stars in 1996 and has held them since. Santini learned to cook at a young age with the desire to run her own small restaurant. In 1974, Santini and her husband took over his great grandparents’ restaurant which first opened in the 1910s.
Within two decades of running the restaurant, Santini became the first female chef in Italy to win three stars and has maintained them ever since. Santini is a highly regarded Italian chef, and her love for nurturing and feeding others shines through.
30. Tiffani Faison
Tiffani Faison is an American celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for appearing as a judge on the cooking series Chopped. She studied culinary arts at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Throughout her career, Faison has worked in many prominent restaurants and appeared in several cooking shows, notably Top Chef.
Faison first gained recognition when she appeared in the first season of Top Chef, finishing in second place in the season’s finale. Aside from her television career, Faison also owns multiple restaurants including Sweet Cheeks Q, Fool’s Errand, Bubble Bath, Tenderoni’s, and Dive Bar which are all located in different parts of Boston.
31. Stephanie Izard
Stephanie Izard is an American professional chef and television personality who became the first female chef to win the title of Top Chef in the show’s fourth season. She developed a passion for cooking at an early age and pursued it professionally as well.
Izard opened her first restaurant Scylla in 2004 when she was only 27, which unfortunately closed in 2007. After winning Top Chef, Izard met many people in the culinary industry that helped her open future restaurants. She currently co-owns various restaurants in Chicago, such as Girl & The Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat which have all won several awards.
32. Niki Nakayama
Niki Nakamaya is a Japanese-American professional chef best known for her n/naka restaurant in Los Angeles which serves modern Japanese kaiseki cuisine. The multi-course meals served at the restaurant feature local and seasonal ingredients usually picked from Nakamaya’s own garden. The restaurant won two Michelin stars in 2019.
During her early years, Nakayama attended culinary school and trained in various restaurants across Japan. She was born in Los Angeles and returned after her learning tour in Japan. She first opened up Azami Sushi Cafe, which also served a multi-course dinner. Soon after, she opened n/naka with her wife, Carole Iida, which grew to become a critically acclaimed restaurant.
33. Gail Simmons
Gail Simmons is a Canadian-American food writer, television personality, and cookbook author. She is best known for being a permanent judge on the highly popular cooking series Top Chef since its first season. Simmons’ started a career in food-related journalism with the McGill Tribune and then worked for Toronto Life and National Post.
Soon after graduating, Gail moved to New York City and trained at the Peter Kump New York Cooking School. She got her big break working at Vogue as an assistant to the food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. She then began working at Food & Wine magazine, which eventually helped her land the job of a regular judge on Top Chef.
34. Marcela Valladolid
Marcela Valladolid is an American professional chef and food writer. As a child, she discovered her love for cooking while helping around at her Aunt Marcela’s cooking school in Tijuana, Mexico. After studying at the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, Marcela left for Paris, France, where she trained as a classic pastry chef.
At the start, Valladolid worked for Bon Appetit magazine but soon moved on to television. She made her first appearance on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Since then, she has hosted two cooking shows; Relatos con Sabor and Mexican Made Easy. Her two cookbooks feature simple Mexican recipes and have received positive reviews.
35. Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Isa Chandra Moskowitz is an American chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur. She is a vegan chef and only prepares vegan meals. During the 1980s, Isa made the decision to go vegetarian and then fully vegan. Soon after, she decided to host her own vegan cooking show called The Post Punk Kitchen. She came up with the show due to a dire lack of vegan cooking shows.
The success of the show paved the way for Moskowitz to begin writing cookbooks. She has published various vegan cookbooks, including Vegan with A Vengeance (2005), Vegan Brunch (2009), and I Can Cook Vegan (2019). She also owns the vegan restaurant Modern Love, located in Omaha, Nebraska, and Brooklyn.
36. Sara Moulton
Sara Moulton is an American professor chef and cookbook author. She grew up with a passion for food but didn’t pursue a career in it until after her graduation. She studied the culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America and began working at restaurants in New York right after.
Moulton is best known for working with Good Morning America as an on-air food editor from 1997 to 2012. She is also known for her various other cooking shows, such as Cooking Live and Sara’s Secrets. Aside from her prolific and successful television career, she has authored several cookbooks which feature simple, delicious, and nutritious recipes.
37. Katie Lee
Katie Lee is an American chef, cookbook author, novelist, and TV food critic. She has contributed to several food magazines and cooking shows throughout her career. Lee began her career working in wine shops and specialty food stores. She then started her own website, OliveAndPeach.com, where she uploaded restaurant reviews till 2006.
In 2008 and 2009, Lee published two cookbooks that featured simple, easy, and delicious recipes prepared using fresh, seasonal, and organic ingredients. She is also the host of the cooking show Beach Bites with Katie Lee.