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Restaurant Magazine: Top 20 Chefs of All Time


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#1 Marlyn4k

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 07:19 AM

The October 13th Issue of Restaurant Magazine has a lead article ranking the top 20 chefs of all time. Chef's are marked out of 5 for influence, innovation, success and longevity with a total mark out of 20.

The piece is by Joe Warwick. Regardless of whether you might agree or disagree with the ranking (and those included or excluded) it is extremely well researched, well written and full of interesting comment.

I much prefer this list to the highly publicised World's Top 50 Restaurants - which had some very strange 'celeb focused' inclusions.

The article also mentions as nearly but not quite - Alain Chapel, Michel Guerard, Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, Pierre Gagnaire and a few others. There are some sub-articles like 'one dish wonders' - chefs remembered for one particular dish. Biographies of Peng Zu, Brillat-Savarin and Marcus Apicius and a summary of various authors.

The top 20 are:-

1) Marie-Antoine Careme
2) Auguste Escoffier
3) Alain Ducasse
4) Fernand Point
5) Joel Robouchon
6) Alice Waters
7) Ferran Adria
8) Paul Bocuse
9) Fredy Girardet
10) Marc Veyrat
11) Marco Pierre White
12) Wolgang Puck
13) Michel Roux
14) Alexandre Dumaine
15) Alexis Soyer
16) Adolphe Duglere
17) Andre Pic
18) Charles Ranhofer
19) Jean Banchet
20) Gualtiero Marchesi

#2 MobyP

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 02:04 PM

Superb list. But who the fuck's Marco Pierre White?

A restaurant manager in a list of chefs? I don't think so.

Actually, interesting to see Ducasse ahead of Robuchon (which seems reasonable), and Chapel not there at all.
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#3 the count of monte christo

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 01:43 PM

[quote name='MobyP' date='Oct 13 2004, 02:04 PM']
Superb list. But who the fuck's Marco Pierre White?


Ha!! That brings back memories. My friends used to say that when I enthused about him many years ago. I put it down to ignorance.

#4 russ parsons

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 03:00 PM

what silliness. lists like this remind me of why i hate baseball fans. next year, it'll be "best left-handed sous chefs".

#5 Basildog

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 03:15 PM

what silliness. lists like this remind me of why i hate baseball fans. next year, it'll be "best left-handed sous chefs".

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

But don't you see, all chefs crave awards/approval...it's hot wired to the brain.What other job has publications for public consumption on how well you do you job???

OK actors etc, but i mean real jobs :wink:

#6 CheGuevara

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 10:19 PM

incredible that wolfgang puck was even considered amongst "great" chefs - astoundingly absurd he made the list.

restaurant magazine is going down the wrong path with these rankings...

-che

#7 fabienpe

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 11:55 PM

incredible that wolfgang puck was even considered amongst "great" chefs - astoundingly absurd he made the list.
-che

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Who's Puck?

What's interesting is that at a time when French chefs are being criticised heavily for not innovating enough (lot of debates in the French press recently after the New York Times made Adria the best chef in the World + conference organised by R Blanc in Oxford this year) more than half the chefs listed in this list are from the other side of the Channel! There is still some hope ;-)

F

#8 Gary Marshall

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 06:52 AM

more than half the chefs listed in this list are from the other side of the Channel! There is still some hope ;-)

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[/quote]

but most are dead though, no?

:biggrin:

gary
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#9 Andy Lynes

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 09:21 AM

No, 8 are dead, the rest still alive although not all are still cooking.

I enjoed reading the article and learnt a bit from it, although I would recommend "The Story of Haute Cuisine" from Anthony Blake and Quentin Crewe's "Great Chefs of France" for a more in depth although still potted history of the subject.

I think its a reasonable stab at an all time top 20, albeit one designed to provoke and entertain as educate. Although I can provide no names, surely there must be some Asian chefs worthy of inclusion, it seems a gaping hole, if only that Japan was such a big influence on Nouvelle cuisine.

#10 Scott

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 05:08 AM

I think it is a fair stab at it. Alice waters raised an eyebrow, but hey...
can't please all the people all the time
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#11 Andy Lynes

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 08:02 AM

Given that Gualtiero Marchesi scores just 8 points to make the 20th spot, I don't see how you could exclude Jamie Oliver from the list. As one of the richest chefs on the planet, you'd have to give him 5 for success, at least 2 for influence, 1 for innovation (Cheeky Chops charity) and a 1 for longevity (the boy is already well established at a very young age and is no doubt going to be around for some time).

So not only have they excluded Oliver from their list, but where is Swedish Chef from the Muppets and Tako the Octopus? It just doesn't bear close scrutiny.

#12 reuvens

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 01:51 PM

Superb list. But who the fuck's Marco Pierre White?

A restaurant manager in a list of chefs? I don't think so.

Actually, interesting to see Ducasse ahead of Robuchon (which seems reasonable), and Chapel not there at all.

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white heat ! yes of course there is escoffier, careme, and other great chefs. but i remember reading white heat as an apprentice and getting motivated right after the last page. he is an asshole but he did great things. you can see his breed on tv ;-) ramo!! ramsey and mr. sugercube novelli

#13 chromedome

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Posted 23 October 2004 - 11:37 PM

Ducasse ahead of Point? Dunno 'bout that.

But then, lists of this sort are always rather an excercise in futility, aren't they?
Fat=flavor

#14 CheGuevara

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 01:54 AM

quite right under those eyes, the problem is you are considering jamie oliver a chef. take influence for example - aside from single blokes trying to impress a damsel and the odd mother trying hard to feed her children, i doubt he's influenced anyone of note, let alone any cuisine in particular.

-che

Given that Gualtiero Marchesi scores just 8 points to make the 20th spot, I don't see how you could exclude Jamie Oliver from the list. As one of the richest chefs on the planet, you'd have to give him 5 for success, at least 2 for influence, 1 for innovation (Cheeky Chops charity) and a 1 for longevity (the boy is already well established at a very young age and is no doubt going to be around for some time).

So not only have they excluded Oliver from their list, but where is Swedish Chef from the Muppets and Tako the Octopus? It just doesn't bear close scrutiny.

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#15 Andy Lynes

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 09:11 AM

Its too early to say if Oliver has influenced anyone of note. Give it 5 years or so and I'd bet that we'll see a string of young chefs who say they got into cooking because of him. Does he do enough hours in the kitchen to still be considered a chef - I've really no idea.

#16 Scott

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 06:13 AM

Its too early to say if Oliver has influenced anyone of note. Give it 5 years or so and I'd bet that we'll see a string of young chefs who say they got into cooking because of him.    Does he do enough hours in the kitchen to still be considered a chef - I've really no idea.

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Andy,

that might well be true, however none of these people are likely to be influenced by anything he has actually done; rather maybe what he supposedly stands for.

I can't see anyone saying I was inspired by the alchemy of his lovely jubbly salad.
It is likely only to be his personality and not his professional competence that might inspire future generations. if it is, given him credit, but not credit for serious work in the kitchen.
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#17 Andy Lynes

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 10:08 AM

But many of the critics seem to agree that the food at Fifteen is excellent, its just the service and the prices that people complain about. I'm not in a position to say whether or not Olivers style has influenced other chefs or if dishes that originated at Fifteen have started popping up on other menus, but I wouldn't be suprised if either or both of those things was already happening. I'm not saying that's a particularly good or bad thing, just that he is so well known that there's a degree of inevitability about it.

#18 robyn

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 05:29 PM

incredible that wolfgang puck was even considered amongst "great" chefs - astoundingly absurd he made the list.

restaurant magazine is going down the wrong path with these rankings...

-che

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Depends what the criteria for the list were. I suspect that the list is really of "important chefs" - not "great chefs". Wolfgang Puck is important because - in my opinion - he was responsible for the "invention" of "New American" cuisine - which in turn spawned a lot of sub-categories (Nuevo Latino, Floribbean, etc.).

Ditto for Alice Waters. Perhaps she wasn't a "great chef" - but she started the whole idea of cooking the freshest of ingredients in relatively simple preparations.

No question I'd say that these 2 people are 2 of the most important chefs in the history of restaurants in the US.

I agree with Andy that it's too bad that most people in the West don't know enough about chefs or restaurants in the East to include them in a list like this. Robyn

#19 Andy Lynes

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 04:08 AM

Depends what the criteria for the list were. 

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Chefs are awarded points out of 5 for influence, innovation, success and longevity giving a maximum possible of 20.

#20 robyn

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 04:24 PM

Depends what the criteria for the list were. 

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Chefs are awarded points out of 5 for influence, innovation, success and longevity giving a maximum possible of 20.

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That sounds like "important" to me. Robyn

#21 Andy Lynes

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 06:22 PM

What criteria would you have used for a "greatest chef" list?

#22 Winot

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 06:18 AM

How about "How good their cooking is"?

I'm inclined to agree with Robyn: influence, innovation, and success are criteria all warped by fashion. As for longevity, just because someone's been around forever doesn't make them any good.

#23 Wine_Dad

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 06:23 AM

And Thomas Keller. Will no-one stand up and defend him. While he's not classicaly trained, nor has he "paid his dues" in old world classic haunts, his French Laundry is widely regarded as possibly one of the most innovative restaurants in the world. All he merits is an honourable mention?

This list is has overtones of figure skating judging. :blink:
Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal. (The Simpsons)

#24 Andy Lynes

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 08:26 AM

How about "How good their cooking is"?

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Don't be ridiculous, what's that got to do with gross profit margins and rolling out concepts? :biggrin: But how can you judge the cooking of a chef from the early 19th Century? You've only got his recipes and his achievements to go on, so success, influence and innovation must come into it, surely.

#25 Adam Balic

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 10:00 AM

Interestingly list. Surprised to see Soyer there for instance and not some more recent chefs like Michel Guérard (or is he and the other N.C. dudes covered by the inclusion of Paul Bocuse?).

#26 Scott

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 10:02 AM

But many of the critics seem to agree that the food at Fifteen is excellent, its just the service and the prices that people complain about. I'm not in a position to say whether or not Olivers style has influenced other chefs or if dishes that originated at Fifteen have started popping up on other menus, but I wouldn't be suprised if either or both of those things was already happening. I'm not saying that's a particularly good or bad thing, just that he is so well known that there's a degree of inevitability about it.

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maybe,

but from I understand is that at present it's quite the opposite. There was quite a run on early, but it's been downhill since.

though I might be wrong.
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#27 Scott

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 10:03 AM

And Thomas Keller. Will no-one stand up and defend him.  While he's not classicaly trained, nor has he "paid his dues" in old world classic haunts, his French Laundry is widely regarded as possibly one of the most innovative restaurants in the world.  All he merits is an honourable mention?

This list is has overtones of figure skating judging. :blink:

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as far as an all time list goes, do you feel he rates above a short listing?
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#28 Marlyn4k

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 10:08 AM

It's no so much the list that I like/don't like or agree with/disagree with but the research in the narratives by Joe Warwick, along with the other informative sub-articles in the piece. Without wanting to advertise the magazine, you really need to see the article to appreciate the effort...

Someone say something about Thomas Keller? Did he not spend time in a number of Parisian 3 star kitchens? Although english peas? Please.

#29 MobyP

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 02:19 AM

And Thomas Keller. Will no-one stand up and defend him.  While he's not classicaly trained, nor has he "paid his dues" in old world classic haunts, his French Laundry is widely regarded as possibly one of the most innovative restaurants in the world.  All he merits is an honourable mention?

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While I'm not his biggest fan - I think you'll find both those points to be wrong. Keller was both classically trained, AND spent a year in France in old world classic haunts (Taillevant, Guy Savoy to name but two).
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#30 robyn

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 03:50 PM

What criteria would you have used for a "greatest chef" list?

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I guess it depends what the goal of the list is. E.g., most important historically - or chefs whose food you'd want to eat now - or something else. Since this seems to be a list of historical importance - perhaps it might be useful to limit the list to people who've been dead for at least a while. Just like you don't want to name streets after the living - or put them on stamps (at least that's the practice in the US) - lest they turn out to be unimportant - or worse - 10 years down the road. And if you're dealing with chefs in terms of things to eat - well I think it's hard to evaluate the cooking of someone who died 100 years ago. Robyn