The Richest Chef In The World Isn't Who You Think

Who do you think the richest chef in the world is? A celebrity chef with multiple restaurants around the world, with tons of different television shows, all with multiple seasons, along with a line of their own cookware? Maybe you think of long-standing celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay. Maybe you think of Food Network royalty like Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, or Rachael Ray. But, in all of these instances, you'd be wrong.

The richest chef in the world is actually relatively unknown (at least compared to the highly visible faces above). It's Alan Wong, with his net worth of $1.1 billion — though Jetset Magazine argues that this isn't actually Wong's true net worth, as Wong is sometimes confused with Allan Wong of VTECH. Regardless, both Jetset Magazine and Wealthy Gorilla name Wong as their richest chef in the world, estimating his worth high above that of their second wealthiest chefs. In second place, Wealthy Gorilla has Jamie Oliver, with a $400 million net worth, while Jetset Magazine has Marco Pierre White, with an estimated $40 million net worth.

How did Alan Wong become so wealthy?

It wasn't off of television shows or cookbook deals. According to The Richest, Wong opened his first restaurant in 1989 and, in 1991, he joined a collective of Hawaiian chefs to create Hawaii Regional Cuisine, the organization responsible for popularizing what's now widely known in the culinary world as Hawaiian-influenced cuisine. Over the years, Wong, as well as his restaurants, including one in Japan, have been recognized by multiple publications and awards as some of the best in the world. 

He did go on to write two cookbooks, one in 1999 and one in 2010, but he's otherwise kept his media profile low. He was a guest judge on "Top Chef" in 2007 and he's cooked for political figures. But most of his wealth has been built on good food and hard work, versus the spotlight and fanfare. However, will that be enough to keep Wong at the top of the list for richest chefs in the world? As of late 2020, Wong's restaurants have closed indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.