Who are the richest chefs? Just try not to read this
Best-of lists are like popcorn -- there may not be much there, but you just can't stop. That's certainly true of the new ranking of "Most Successful Chefs" by the website the Daily Meal. Put together by longtime food writer Colman Andrews, the list is topped by -- you guessed it -- Wolfgang Puck (with fast food in seemingly every airport, a restaurant in every city, and his own lines of pots and pans and canned food, how could he not be?). But there are also some surprises ... Jamie Oliver at No. 2? We'll buy Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon in the top 5, but Paula Deen?
As for the website's methodology ... maybe it's better not to ask:
Our researchers consulted Experian (through LexisNexis), the Orbis International Financial Database, and BookScan. We considered net worth rankings and previous salary estimates from Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and several trade publications. We scoured the popular press for news stories and rumors. Then we called up savvy restaurant pros (not the kinds who'd make the list) and got their feedback, threw in a pinch of common sense, and calculated what we believe to be a reasonable approximation of each chef's personal income for 2010.
OK, but it sure is fun to argue about.
-- Russ Parsons
Photo: Wolfgang Puck, center, and staff members at this year's Academy Awards festivities. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times