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Top 10 Famous Female Chefs

famous female chefs - julia child

As we put together this list of the most famous female chefs in the world we included the obvious culinary legends, but we also wanted to introduce you to several talented female chefs that you may not know (yet!)

Chefs from around the world constantly amaze and inspire people of all cultures and ethnicities, making food come alive and teach us something new or bring a taste of home to their tables. 

Many of these famous female chefs are women who have unique perspectives and have either learned from the best culinary schools or have taught themselves, letting their own intuition guide them. 

Here we take a look at the top 10 famous female chefs:

Chef Julia Child

Chef Julia Child

Julia Child is one of the most famous female chefs thanks to her accomplishments in the kitchen as well as on the tv. She spent some time living in Paris with her husband and fell in love with cooking French cuisine there. 

Her first cookbook, Mastering The Art Of French Cooking was an instant hit with people in America as it laid out step by step instructions on how to cook some of the most difficult French dishes. 

Child graduated from the very famous Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and became a household name once she got into television. She earned several Daytime Emmy Awards for her shows like Baking With Julia, Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home and Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs as well as being awarded a James Beard Award for Best Culinary Video and a Peabody Award. 

Child’s life was so intriguing that it was made into a movie titled Julie and Julia which chronicled the true events of an aspiring chef blogging her journey to cook all of Child’s recipes in one year. 

Child has been hailed as one of the most influential chefs in America and her work is still referenced long after she passed away due to the level at which she took her culinary talents. 

Best Julia Child Books

Besides all of the television shows and appearances, Child also wrote a number of cookbooks including The French Chef Cookbook, Julia Child & Company, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, Julia’s Menus For Special Occasions and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

Chef Dominique Crenn

Chef Dominique Crenn
Instagram: dominiquecrenn

Dominique Crenn grew up in France with a mother who was a cook and loved taking her to different restaurants to experience the different dishes from around the world including Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. 

Crenn moved to the United States looking to make her mark in the culinary world. She began cooking at different restaurants and eventually became the head chef of a restaurant in Indonesia. She left there when the country came into conflict and came back to the United States. 

She worked at different restaurants before opening her own named Atelier Crenn in San Francisco and which has now been awarded three Michelin stars, making Crenn the first female head chef to receive three stars

Crenn was also named Best Female Chef in 2016. In 2018 she was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for Best of Chef: West. 

Chef Ana Ros

Chef Ana Ros
Instagram: anaros40

Ana Ros is known for her experimental take on traditional foods. She did not grow up in the kitchen like most chefs do, learning at a young age. Instead, she happened upon it when she and her husband took over his family’s restaurant when his parents decided to retire. 

Ros started out as a waitress and when the chef left the restaurant, she took over for him. She was soon attracting attention from around the world with her work in the culinary arts, being named world’s best female chef in 2017 and being featured in the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table. Ros has continued to wow the culinary community with her self-taught cooking style and willingness to experiment with different flavors and dishes. 

In 2020, Michelin awarded Chef Ros and her restaurant Hiša Franko with two Michelin stars making it the first restaurant in Slovenia to be recognized with any stars by the prestigious guide.

Chef Martha Stewart

Chef Martha Stewart
Instagram: marthastewart

Martha Stewart is an extremely accomplished businesswoman, author, television personality and most notably chef. She learned how to cook early on from her mother and also how to can goods from her grandfather. Stewart initially went to college for Chemistry before moving on to architectural history. 

Stewart then got married and bought a house that her and her husband renovated. She then began a catering business out of the basement in their house which became a huge success. One of her clients was involved in the literary community and this is where her talents as a chef caught the attention of publishers. 

She began writing cookbooks to critical acclaim and then moved on to television where she appeared on several programs. Her famous magazine Martha Stewart Living was then born, and she became a household name. 

Stewart later started her own company which covered all of her media and blossomed into mega stardom.  She has since gone on to become part of everyday life in the United States as a staple in the home and even crossing over to gain new fans when she collaborated with music rapper Snoop Dogg on a television show and cookbook. Stewart has been awarded seven James Beard Awards for different accomplishments as well as several Daytime Emmy Awards. The chef’s official site.

Best Martha Stewart Books

Some of Stewart’s publications include Martha Stewart’s Organizing: The Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines, Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection: 100+ Recipes for the Sweet Classic, from Simple to Stunning: A Baking Book, Everyday Food: Great Food Fast: 250 Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals All Year Long: A Cookbook, Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts: 150 Recipes for Old-Fashioned and Modern Favorites: A Baking Book and Mixtape Potluck Cookbook: A Dinner Party for Friends, Their Recipes, and the Songs They Inspire.

Chef Giada De Laurentiis

Chef Giada De Laurentiis
Instagram: giadadelaurentiis

Giada De Laurentiis was born in Rome, Italy to parents who were in the movie industry. She grew up spending most of her time in the family kitchen as well as her grandfather’s restaurant where she learned her love of food. 

She later studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then moved to the United States where she began working in several restaurants, most notably Spago, owned by Wolfgang Puck. De Laurentiis was later contacted by the Food Network as she worked as a food stylist and then began her television career with her first hit show Everyday Italian.

De Laurentiis popularity from TV and origins have also landed her on our list of the most famous Italian chefs in the world.

Best Giada De Laurentiis Books

De Laurentiis has gone on to appear in several more television shows and has many publications including Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner, Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets, Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count … Without Stressing Out and Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California.

Chef Rachael Ray

Chef Rachael Ray
Instagram: rachaelray

Rachael Ray was born in Glens Falls New York. She learned about cooking and the restaurant business early as her mother was a restaurant manager for several different venues. 

As an adult, Ray got into the business herself as she managed Mister Brown’s Pub before becoming a buyer at a gourmet market. During her stint here she encountered many people who did not want to put the time into cooking meals every day so Ray began offering cooking classes which taught people how to cook meals in under 30 minutes. This soon became a hit and she was asked to come on to a local television show with her lessons. 

Ray then went on to get her own show on The Food Network. She has since hosted her own talk show, been a guest on countless others, has her own line of kitchen products, 

Best Rachael Ray Books

Ray has written numerous cookbooks, some of which include Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook, Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals: A Cookbook, Rachael Ray’s Book of 10: More Than 300 Recipes to Cook Every Day: A Cookbook and My Year in Meals.

Chef Paula Deen

Chef Paula Dean
Instagram: pauladeen_official

Paula Deen grew up suffering from panic attacks and anxiety and found that the only thing that could make her feel calm was cooking in the kitchen. Her parents passed away when she was 23 so her grandmother taught her how to cook and this is where she learned to make her famous southern dishes. Working in the kitchen became Deen’s saving grace and she learned to cook with passion and heart. 

Deen later moved with her sons to Savannah Georgia and began a home catering business that she named The Bag Lady. This was an instant hit and it soon became more than her small kitchen could handle. She moved on to open her first restaurant named The Lady & Sons to much critical acclaim. Deen now has several restaurants, a cooking show and her own signature line of kitchen products. 

Best Paula Deen Books

Some of her many cookbooks include Paula Deen’s Southern Baking: 125 Favorite Recipes from My Savannah Kitchen, The Lady & Sons Just Desserts: More than 120 Sweet Temptations from Savannah’s Favorite Restaurant, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes, Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life and Paula Deen’s Savannah Style.

Chef Nigella Lawson 

Chef Nigella Lawson
Instagram: nigellalawson

Nigella Lawson started out as a food critic and book reviewer before moving on to authoring her own cookbooks and starring in her own television show, Nigella Bites. Since she grew up with a mother that was a great cook, Lawson was immediately drawn towards the culinary arts. 

She used that knowledge and her education to become a top food critic and also worked as a freelance journalist for a time. Once she wrote her cookbook and started her television show she became extremely popular and was asked to host more shows for the BBC such as Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen and Nigella Express. Lawson has also been a guest judge on such shows as Top Chef, Iron Chef and MasterChef Australia and MasterChef US. 

Best Nigella Lawson Books

Her cookbooks include Nigella Express: Good Food, Fast, Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food, Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Nigella Fresh: Delicious Flavors on Your Plate All Year Round, At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking and How To Be A Domestic Goddess, among others. 

Chef Padma Lakshmi

Chef Padma Lakshmi
Instagram: padmalakshmi

Padma Lakshmi was born in Chennai India and moved to the United States at the age of four, living in Manhattan, New York. She began her career as a model, appearing on runways and in campaign ads for some of the most famous and iconic brands around the world. 

She later went on to host television shows, one of which was Top Chef. It was this show that got Lakshmi into cooking and subsequently writing her cookbooks Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World, and Easy Exotic. She also wrote a memoir entitled Love, Loss, and What We Ate

Lakshmi has been very outspoken about her life and the trials that she went through as an Indian woman growing up in America. She has taken the hardships that she faced and turned them into positive outcomes, most notably in the culinary world. 

Chef Cat Cora

Chef Cat Cora
Instagram: catcora

Cat Cora was born in Jackson, Mississippi to a father who was a restauranteur, which is where she learned and fell in love with the culinary arts. She later went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and opened her own restaurant called Cat Cora’s Que. 

Cora is also the co-founder of Chefs For Humanity which aims to raise money to fight hunger around the world. She is also an Iron Chef on the Food Network and is a co-host on Around the World in 80 Plates.  Cora authored the cookbook Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes which has been a huge success and continues to work on several different media shows.

Who are your favorite female chefs?

So, there you have them, the top 10 famous female chefs. A group of extremely talented and well awarded female chefs that have brought us some of the best dishes and culinary experiences around. Consider yourself lucky should you get the chance to dine at one of the fine establishments run by any of these fabulous female chefs.

Read more about more famous chefs.

Chef Deno

Follow my journey as I explore food culture around the world - easily from the comfort of your own home. Proud of your food scene? I travel often and we can plan to meet up so you can share the food culture in your town.

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