Famous 20th Century Restaurateurs

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Restaurateurs

 1 Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders
4
Famous As: Founder of KFC
Birthdate: September 9, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Henryville, Indiana, United States
Died: December 16, 1980

Colonel Sanders is the man who revolutionized the American fast food industry by founding the restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Establishing a style trademark by wearing a white suit and black string tie, Sanders went on to become a symbol of the KFC brand. Such is the popularity of the brand, the symbol is recognized all over the world.

 2 Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: December 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is best known for his Food Network shows, such as the Emmy-nominated Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay. He launched many restaurants, such as the Las Vegas-based Mesa Grill and 19 outlets of Bobby's Burger Palace. He has also taught at the French Culinary Institute.

 3 Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver
4
Famous As: Chef and Restaurateur
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clavering, U.K.

Jamie Oliver is an English restaurateur and chef who gained international recognition after appearing on popular TV shows, such as Jamie's Kitchen and The Naked Chef. In 2005, his Feed Me Better campaign helped introduce several children to healthier foods. He also established a charity restaurant called Fifteen, which employs disadvantaged young people.

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 4 Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Roosevelt, New York, United States
Rapper and hip-hop “hype man” Flavor Flav co-founded the rap group Public Enemy. Known for his signature style of wearing clocks as ornaments and for his screams of "Yeah, boyeeeeee!” in his songs, he has also starred in several reality shows. He owned two restaurants, which closed down unceremoniously.

 5 Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck
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Famous As: Chef, Restaurateur
Birthdate: July 8, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sankt Veit an der Glan, Austria

Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian-American restaurateur. In 1973, Puck moved to the US and opened a restaurant named Spago in 1982. He then established himself as a respected restaurateur by opening several other restaurants. In 2013, he was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame. Also an actor, Puck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 6 Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc
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Famous As: CEO of McDonald's (1967-1973)
Birthdate: October 5, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: January 14, 1984

Ray Kroc was the man who helped expand McDonald's into a global franchise, eventually turning it into the most successful fast food corporation. Not surprisingly, he was mentioned in Time magazine's Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century list. He was also the owner of the popular baseball team San Diego Padres.

 7 Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: May 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Shepherd's Bush, London, England, United Kingdom

Heston Blumenthal is a British celebrity chef whose unusual recipes, such as Scotch eggs and triple-cooked chips have been widely imitated. He is considered a pioneer of multi-sensory cooking and his scientific approach to cooking has earned him honorary degrees from several universities. In 2004, he won the prestigious Chef Award, joining the likes of Phil Howard and Gordon Ramsay.

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 8 Emeril Lagasse

Emeril Lagasse
3
Famous As: Chef, Restaurateur
Birthdate: October 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fall River, Massachusetts, United States
Celebrity chef Emeril Lagassé is known for his signature New New Orleans style of cooking and his catchphrases such as “Bam!” He owns several restaurants, has written many cookbooks, owns a non-profit for underprivileged children, and has also hosted Food Network shows such as Essence of Emeril and Emeril Live.

 9 Salt Bae

Salt Bae
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: August 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erzurum, Turkey

 10 Mario Batali

Mario Batali
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: September 19, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Mario Batali is an American chef, restaurateur, writer, and media personality. He started hogging the limelight after appearing on some of Food Network's shows, such as Iron Chef America and Molto Mario. Also a well-known philanthropist and social activist, Batali established the Mario Batali Foundation in 2008, which funds pediatric disease research and various children's educational programs.

 11 Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri
0
Famous As: Restaurateur, Cookbook Author
Birthdate: January 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Primarily a restaurateur, Guy Fieri is a testimony to the fact that any professional can become famous if they are passionate enough in doing what they do best. From being a restaurateur, he went on to become a TV personality, hosting shows for Food Network channel. By mid-2010, he had become the face of the network.

 12 Michael Symon

Michael Symon
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: September 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

 13 Kimbal Musk

Kimbal Musk
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Famous As: Venture Capitalist, Restaurateurs
Birthdate: September 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa
Kimbal Musk, the younger brother of business tycoon and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, owns the community restaurant chain known as The Kitchen Restaurant Group. He also co-founded the non-profit Big Green, which builds outdoor classrooms, and Square Roots, which specializes in urban farming. He is also a prime Tesla shareholder.

 14 Richard McDonald

Richard McDonald
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Famous As: Were American entrepreneurs who founded the fast food company McDonald's
Birthdate: January 31, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States
Died: July 14, 1998

Richard McDonald was an entrepreneur who co-founded the fast-food company McDonald's with his brother, Maurice. Their father ran a food stall. As young men, Richard and Maurice took over their father’s business and redesigned the restaurant. The restaurant was highly successful, and the brothers began franchising their system. The first McDonald's restaurant has now been converted into a museum. 

 15 Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert
2
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: March 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antibes, France

 16 Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz
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Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 25, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Clair, Michigan, United States

 17 Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz
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Famous As: Chairman & CEO of Starbucks (1986-2000, 2008-17)
Birthdate: July 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Businessman Howard Schultz has served as the chairman and CEO of the Starbucks Coffee Company and as the owner of the basketball team Seattle SuperSonics. He has written several books on business, including the NYT bestseller From the Ground Up. He has also launched the Schultz Family Foundation.

 18 John Schnatter

John Schnatter
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Famous As: Founder of Papa John's Pizza
Birthdate: November 23, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jeffersonville, Indiana, United States

Entrepreneur John H. Schnatter, also known as Papa John, established Papa John's Pizza in the 1980s, using the money he got after selling his car. He resigned as the CEO of his company in 2018, following a controversy regarding his comments about protests by NFL players.

 19 Maurice McDonald

Maurice McDonald
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Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: November 26, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States
Died: December 11, 1971

 20 Joe Bastianich

Joe Bastianich
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: September 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States
Restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich co-owns 30 restaurants across four countries, with his mother, Lidia Bastianich. His ventures include the Michelin-star-rated Babbo and the Pizzeria brand of eateries in Los Angeles. He has been a judge on the MasterChef franchise and has also authored several cookbooks and a bestselling autobiography.

 21 Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless
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Famous As: Chef, Restaurateur
Birthdate: November 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City

 22 Prue Leith

Prue Leith
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Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: February 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: South Africa

British-South African chef and culinary expert Prue Leith had begun her career with a lunch-supplying business. She later launched her Michelin-starred restaurant Leith's in Notting Hill and a culinary school. Best known as a judge on The Great British Menu, she is also associated with various charitable initiatives.

 23 Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann
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Famous As: American football player
Birthdate: September 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States

 24 Jim Ross

Jim Ross
3
Famous As: Commentator
Birthdate: January 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Bragg, California, United States

 25 Barron Hilton

Barron Hilton
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Famous As: CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation
Birthdate: October 23, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States
Died: September 19, 2019

The second son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, Barron Hilton was initially a skilled photographer and had even learned to fly planes. A sports enthusiast, he had also been the AFL president. A philanthropist, too, he left 97% of his wealth to his own charitable foundation.

 26 Rick Stein

Rick Stein
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: January 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Churchill, Oxfordshire, England

Celebrity chef Rick Stein has managed the U.K.’s Stein Hotel and Restaurant with his first wife, Jill Stein. He later became the head chef and co-owner of Rick Stein at Bannisters in Australia, with his second wife, Sarah. He has authored cookbooks and presented culinary shows such as Seafood Odyssey.

 27 Alan Hale Jr.

Alan Hale Jr.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: January 2, 1990

 28 Paul Prudhomme

Paul Prudhomme
2
Famous As: Chef, Restaurateur, Non-fiction writer, Businessperson
Birthdate: July 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Opelousas
Died: October 8, 2015

 29 Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon
2
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 7, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poitiers, Vienne, France
Died: August 6, 2018

 30 Ming Tsai

Ming Tsai
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Famous As: Restaurateur, Squash player, Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport Beach

 31 Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: February 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pula, Croatia

Lidia Bastianich is an Italian-American television host, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and author. She owns many restaurants in the US, including one in Manhattan. Bastianich is the recipient of several awards and honors, including a couple of Lifetime Achievement Awards. Also a philanthropist, Lidia Bastianich supports various non-profit organizations, such as the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which aims at promoting Italian-American heritage.

 32 Rocky Aoki

Rocky Aoki
3
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: October 9, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 10, 2008

 33 Jon Taffer

Jon Taffer
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: November 7, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Great Neck, New York, U.S.

 34 Rene Redzepi

Rene Redzepi
2
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: December 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark

 35 Graham Elliot

Graham Elliot
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: January 4, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

 36 Sean Tuohy

Sean Tuohy
3
Famous As: Sports Commentator
Birthdate: November 23, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

 37 Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio
2
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: August 15, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States

 38 Carl Ruiz

Carl Ruiz
1
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: April 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Passaic, New Jersey, United States
Died: September 21, 2019

 39 Sarah Willingham

Sarah Willingham
2
Famous As: Restaurateur, Businessperson
Birthdate: December 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent

It is believed Sarah Willingham had begun working in the hospitality industry at age 13. Apart from managing the popular restaurants Planet Hollywood and Pizza Express, she also manages a huge portfolio that includes The Bombay Bicycle Club and The London Cocktail Club. She has also been part of Dragons' Den.

 40 Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: January 25, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Swedish chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson currently works as the head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York. Fascinated by his grandmother’s cooking, he studied at the Culinary Institute in Göteborg to learn the nuances of food preparation. In the ensuing years, he gained recognition as a world-class chef. He is also an award-winning cookbook author.

 41 Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu Matsuhisa
2
Famous As: Chefs
Birthdate: March 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saitama, Japan

 42 John Torode

John Torode
3
Famous As: Celebrity chef
Birthdate: July 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur John Torode initially worked at the U.K.-based Conran Group's restaurants. He is also known for his appearances on shows such as This Morning and the revival of MasterChef in 2005. He owned the Luxe and Smiths of Smithfield and has also authored several cookbooks.

 43 Gary Rhodes

Gary Rhodes
2
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: April 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 26, 2019

Best known for his appearances on shows such as MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen, Gary Rhodes later also launched his own series, Rhodes Around Britain. He owned several restaurants in the UK and the Middle East. The celebrity chef shocked everyone with his untimely death at age 59 due to brain hemorrhage.

 44 Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas
2
Famous As: Founder and CEO of Wendy's
Birthdate: July 2, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Died: January 8, 2002

 45 Geoffrey Zakarian

Geoffrey Zakarian
3
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: July 25, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, US

 46 Mandy Rice-Davies

Mandy Rice-Davies
2
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: October 1, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Died: December 18, 2014

Mandy Rice-Davies was a British model and a showgirl, best remembered for her involvement in the Profumo affair that damaged the credibility of Harold Macmillan's Conservative government in early 1960s. Later, she opened a restaurant and a nightclub in Tel Aviv and publishing three books including her autobiography. She also appeared in a number of films and television productions.  

 47 Terence Conran

Terence Conran
1
Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: October 4, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, England

Best known as the founder of the Design Museum in London, British designer and restaurateur Terence Conran had begun a furniture studio while still a student. He later launched popular interior and furniture design firms such as the Conran Design Group and Habitat. He has also penned several books.

 48 Bill Rancic

Bill Rancic
2
Famous As: Writer, Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Author, Restaurateur
Birthdate: May 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago

 49 Sean Avery

Sean Avery
2
Famous As: Ice hockey player, Model, Restaurateur
Birthdate: April 10, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: North York

 50 Charlie Trotter

Charlie Trotter
1
Famous As: Restaurateur, Chef
Birthdate: September 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wilmette
Died: November 5, 2013