The richest Food Network stars might surprise you

Whether they're eating foods we've never heard of, or criticizing less-experienced chefs in new and inventive ways, the personalities on Food Network are what keep us coming back for more. Whether you watch the chef whose energy is most like your own, or the one who inspires you to cook outside your comfort zone, you almost certainly have your favorites. 

Is it any shock, then, that these celebrity chefs become so well-known in popular culture that they are able to seamlessly and successfully construct entire lifestyle brands around their television success? These brands encompass multiple streams of income (from cookbooks, and restaurant franchises, to magazines, and even pet food!), so it stands to reason that they're some of the best paid celebrities out there. But, which Food Network stars take home the most bacon?

Jamie Oliver

This might seem like cheating, but Jamie Oliver had a Food Network show! While he might be known for his television work across the pond, Jamie at Home aired on Food Network back in 2007 to 2008, which makes Oliver a Food Network star by our definition, and by coincidence, he's also the richest among them (via iMDb).

His net worth is estimated at around $400 million (by Insider). Despite that according to BBC News, his restaurant chain — which included over two dozen eateries — collapsed back in 2019, he's still doing quite well for himself. Oliver and his family recently moved into a Tudor mansion in Essex valued at around $7 million (via Daily Mail). And, the charismatic chef is still running the Jamie Oliver Group, which is "commercial business with social purpose" according to the website, aiming to (among other things) halve childhood obesity in the UK by 2030.

Gordon Ramsay

This is probably the least surprising name on the list if you're at all familiar with the Food Network, but what is surprising is just how much Gordon Ramsay's paycheck has grown in the past few years. Back in 2012, Ramsay topped the Forbes list of highest paid celebrity chefs, bringing in $38 million. In 2016, he was on Forbes' 100 highest paid celebrities list and, that same year, Eater published that Ramsay earned the same amount as Beyoncé ($54 million). Not bad.

This year Forbes estimated Ramsay's 2020 earnings at $70 million, with a net worth of over $220 million, which is not only impressive, it's enough to put him comfortably at second place on this list. If you're wondering what a famous chef and TV personality does with all that money when he's not cooking or managing his dozens of restaurants, he's spent a good amount of it on a truly enviable car collection (via GQ).

Rachel Ray

The third richest Food Network star is none other than Rachel Ray. You may know Ray from her first TV show 30 Minute Meals, but she definitely didn't stop there. In fact, her brand might be the most diverse of anyone's on this list, despite her net worth being only $80 million (not bad at all, but still a distant third). 

In addition to starting her own daytime talk show in 2006, aptly named, Rachel Ray Show, Ray is the author of over 20 cookbooks, has a magazine called Rachel Ray In Season with almost 2 million subscribers, and even had a pet food line, Nutrish, that was sold to Smuckers for $1.5 billion (via Insider). It can be difficult to keep up with all of her various projects, but last year Ray returned to her roots (and the Food Network) to reboot her famous 30 Minute Meals show (via Food Network).