11 Notable Celebrity Chef Mentors And Their Now-Famous Proteges
The chef mentor/protege relationship is crucial to working one’s way up in the culinary industry, and receiving the opportunity to apprentice for a Michelin-starred chef is basically the rising chef’s equivalent to an acceptance letter to Yale. In honor of this week’s
, who was crowned with the help of his mentor Food Network Star winner Justin Warner Alton Brown, we decided to rustle up some famous student/teacher partnerships of yesteryear, and what we learned was that that mentor/protege circles are very incestuous and that rivalries between mentors and proteges break out just as frequently. If Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay aren’t the Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker of the culinary world, we don’t know who is.
And, so, without further ado, here are 11 notable celebrity chef mentors and their now-famous proteges. Get your resumes ready, kids.
1.Ferran Adria: Jose Andres and Rene Redzepi
elBulli's chef/owner Ferran Adria has mentored not one, but two world-renowned chefs: Rene Redzepi and Jose Andres. Rene worked at elBulli in 1999, and went on to open 2-Michelin starred and current World's Best Restaurant Noma, while James Beard Award-winning Jose is largely credited with single-handedly bringing the small-plates phenomenon to The States.
2.Charlie Trotter: Graham Elliot and Grant Achatz
Famed Chicago chef
Charlie Trotter has churned out such famous alums as MasterChef judge and Michelin-starred Graham Elliot, as well as Chicago's own personal molecular gastronomer, Grant Achatz of Alinea. Grant famously dedicated a whole chapter of his book "Life, on the Line" to Charlie's tyrannical teaching methods. (Grant would later study under Thomas Keller, who had rather a softer nature, and thus led Grant to quip that he named his child after Keller.)
3.Mario Batali and Anne Burrell
Anne Burrell was working as a chef for Lidia Bastianich at Felidia when Lidia's business partner Mario Batali scooped her up for his own. He named her the chef for special events at Italian Wine Merchants, his New York wine store, and later brought her on as his sous chef for Iron Chef: America. He continues to use her as his sous chef whenever he appears on the show, in spite of her own independent celebrity chef status, restaurant, and TV show.
4.Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Wylie Dufresne
Wylie Dufresne worked for Jean-Georges Vongerichten from 1994-1999, first working his way up to sous chef at Jean Georges, and later becoming the chef du cuisine at Vongerichten's Prime at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Of course, now Wylie is a mad scientist of his own right at wd~50, where he stands as one of the nation's foremost molecular gastronomers.
5.Traci Des Jardins: Chris Cosentino and Elizabeth Faulkner
Top Chef: Masters alum Traci Des Jardins mentored offal king Chris Cosentino when the pair worked at Rubicon together, and she hand-picked Next Iron Chef Season 4 runner-up Elizabeth Faulkner to head the pastry division at Rubicon back in the day as well. Good eye, Trace!
6.Marco Pierre White: Curtis Stone and Gordon Ramsay
The original shouty chef, and,
according to , culinary badass Anthony Bourdain Marco Pierre White churned out two distinct celeb chef proteges. One, Gordon Ramsay, followed in his mentor's stomping footsteps, releasing unbridled vitriol on all his potential Hell's Kitchen proteges on national TV. He would also wage an all-out, world-ending, arch-nemeses feud with his former mentor. The other, Curtis Stone, a significantly more emotionally balanced celebrity chef, simply refers to his Marco Pierre White apprenticeship as some crazy times with a crazy dude.
7.Guy Savoy: Gordon Ramsay and Alex Guarnaschelli
World-renowned proponent of nouvelle cuisine,
Guy Savoy, trained both Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli and Gordon Ramsay at his eponymous restaurant in France. Alex to this day credits him with her approach to building dishes and understanding flavor profiles.
8.Joel Robuchon: Eric Ripert and Gordon Ramsay
Joel Robuchon, the most Michelin-starred man in the world (and our favorite MOF )groomed only the best. Both Eric Ripert, who holds the longest record of retaining 4 stars from the New York Times for his seafood resto Le Bernardin, and Gordon Ramsay studied under Joel at his restaurant in Paris.
9.Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz
Thomas Keller of Per Se and The French Laundry is the only chef in the world to hold simultaneous three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide at two different restaurants. Very fancy. We guess his protege Grant Achatz of Alinea snagged his pricing for good luck. Tasting menus at both Per Se and Alinea will run you $300.
10.Nobu Matsuhisa and Masaharu Morimoto
Masaharu Morimoto gets all his fame points nowadays for being the original Iron Chef transplant to Iron Chef: America, but he was discovered for the Japanese version of the show while working as the exec chef at fusion temple Nobu under Nobu Matsuhisa.
11.Daniel Boulud: Andrew Carlmellini and Adam Perry Lang
Under the tutelage of
Daniel Boulud, Andrew Carmellini served as the chef de cuisine of Cafe Boulud for six years, scoring two James Beard Awards there. He'd go on to earn a Michelin star of his own at his NYC resto A Voce. Perhaps the wackiest pairing of all the chefs and proteges, grill-master Adam Perry Lang actually studied under classical French chef Boulud as well. Interesting. And now we have the sexiest grilling method of all time.