Brokedinner's Top 5 greatest chefs of all time

Kareem Roberts

Kareem Roberts

Other 4th July 2018

Brokedinner's Top 5 greatest chefs of all time

Brokedinner presents : The Top 5 GREATEST chefs of all time

As a fan of certain genres of music and various sports, it is always fashionable to unfairly compare the greats. As difficult as it may be to structure an objective opinion on what can often be so subjective there is always a devoted prick willing to force his dogmatic opinion on you as gospel. Today, I get to be that prick. I will try not to enjoy this too much.

What makes a chef great? Is it accolades? Longevity? Impact? Creative skill? Commercial appeal and success? Influence? The simple answer is all of the above, or at least a varying combination everything mentioned. Not all chefs are created equal nor should they be measured by the same tape. It was difficult for me to not only pick JUST five but to order them was as well a task. I stand by my list and in true prickheadedness I will defend my opinion as if it was written on a pyramid keystone. Now let's get to the list, but first

Honourable Mentions
Michel Roux, Alice Waters, Heston Blumenthal, Auguste Escoffier, Paul Bocuse, Dan Barber, Jamie Oliver (yep), Julia Child*, Chef Boyardee, Chef from South Park, Jason Atherton, Juan Arzak, Michel Troisgros, Charlie Trotter, Marco Pierre White, Keith Floyd, Joel Robuchon, Rene Redzepi, David Chang, Grant Achatz, Wolfgang Puck, Jacques Pepin and so many more

Now…

Brokedinner’s Top FIVE greatest chefs of all time

5. Anthony Bourdain : The inspiration
While he is not as accomplished technically as the rest the bunch on this list there is a lot to be said about 2 things. One, Anthony Bourdain is more relatable to MOST of us than the other guys on this list. Like, he could have been in.the kitchen with any of us at anytime on any shift. The majority of us will always have more in common with him than lets say Daniel Humm or Rene Redzepi. Second, he made it out. He did what alot of us wish we could. He found success LATE in life and told our story to the world. He was and still is our champion. Rest In Peace chief.

4. Thomas Keller : The master craftsman
Once upon a time, it was a delusional idea that an American chef could not only cook at a STUPIDLY high level, but he could do so using French technique. Then Thomas Keller said ‘hold my merlot’. Chef Keller was not classically trained. He did a few short stints in France and then went and through sheer dedication amassed and maintained 3 Michelin stars at the culinary mecca which is The French Laundry. He trained so many chefs that would become greats in their own right but none would ever match his precision and commitment to perfection.

3. Ferran Adria : The innovator
I am not going to say that Ferran Adria changed the way we cook. Okay, yes I am. Ferran Adria changed the way we cook in the modern era. Much like Paul Bocuse did before him in revolutionising contemporary dining Ferran did so with almost complete disregard of everything done before him. Spherification became a common technique because of him. Now a kitchen isn't up to speed without several Sosa products and a recipe or formula for strawberry gel. While Heston Blumenthal and Wylie Dufresne may have ‘independently’ found their own similar styles Ferran and his brother Albert changed to modern conscious approach to cuisine. They forced a generation to ask more and follow less.

2. Alain Ducasse : The collector
Alain Ducasse has held 21 Michelin stars AROUND THE WORLD. Twenty fucking one. That alone makes anything else void. Let's face it, ultimately GREAT chefs are summarized by their merits and achievements and there is none higher than those coveted macaroons. While Joel Robuchon has held more stars, Alain has opened more sites AND has held stars in more countries. When it comes to opening MULTIPLE venues at such a dizzying standard there must be a strong sense of business savvy involved and rarely do you find a lot of chefs who can manage such a feat. Anyone who can deserves to be in the top spot(s) and rightfully so. Speaking of the top spot…

1) Gordon F-word Ramsay : The Icon
How do you measure greatness? Ia by skill? He has it. Success? The man is a zillionaire. Influence? This guy changed the face of modern British fine dining. Impact? Hells kitchen, kitchen nightmares, Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett, Clare Smith… I could go on but there is nothing he has not done. He has held SIXTEEN stars. But the thing that separates him from his starred peers is the fact that Gordon Ramsay IS the star. He is possibly the most recognisable chef ever and considering that he has such commercial appeal supported by undeniable skill makes him the greatest. Respect chef!

While number 2 could have been a toss-up between Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon I don't think anyone can argue with Ramsay being the top dog on this list. Will he be usurped eventually? Possibly. But I do not see it happening anytime in the near future. He still has operations with stars and while he may have slightly lost his competitive edge he certainly hasn’t lost his appeal. Until brokedinner usurps him (fingers crossed) Gordon is the G.O.A.T.

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