Celebrity chefs don’t just play chefs on television, they also work in the culinary field, and more and more famous chefs are opening restaurants and growing their food empires to showcase their talent.
Chefs may have started with cooking shows, but now these A-list chefs are judges, hosts, and even executive producers for competition cooking shows.
These culinary icons cover a variety of specialties. They’re passionate bakers, smooth-talking dinner party planners, and fiery executive chefs.
I love watching celebrity chefs on TV, so I set out to see if the celebrity chef restaurants in the US could hold up to the hype the television shows.
Read on for a variety of celebrity chef-led restaurants I checked out, focusing on how the restaurant ties in with the chef’s image, what role it plays in their legacy, and most importantly, how their food tastes.
There are also a few recommended dishes if you find yourself visiting.
Buddy V’s Ristorante
3327 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Known as the “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro (Buddy V) has partnered with restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla to bring Buddy V’s Ristorante, a savory Italian-American restaurant, to the Las Vegas Strip.
The single restaurant is located in the Italian Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo.
Buddy V’s offers dishes based on family recipes, such as Nonna’s Lasagna Al Forno and the Valastro Sunday Gravy, as well as pizza, pasta, and steaks.
While the restaurant prioritizes savory dishes, I love the Cake Boss’s signature desserts, like their cream-filled lobster tail pastry and Italian birthday cake.
195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
With the first location in New York City opening in 1994, Nobu is a chain of restaurants and hotels created through a team effort between Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert DeNiro.
Nobu is slowly taking over the world with 19 North American locations and 32 additional locations worldwide featuring Japanese cuisine blended with Peruvian ingredients.
All the dishes at Nobu are divided into two main categories, classic dishes and local specialties.
Classic dishes include his signature black cod in miso and yellowtail sushimi spiked with jalapeno.
I recommend the local dishes that are delicious and simple, like the soft-shell stone crab roll and a luxurious miso cappuccino dessert.
176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
With five locations worldwide, Spago is the trademark restaurant for one of the first celebrity chefs in the US, Wolfgang Puck. The original location is still open in Los Angeles.
Customers can order to go for pick up or have food delivered from this market-driven restaurant, or they can eat in and experience Puck’s simple but refined menus.
There is the option for ala carte choices, or my choice was to let the chef guide me on a culinary journey with an eight-course California tasting menu.
It included dishes like homemade tofu with black truffles and California ranch squab with maitake mushrooms.
With a variety of dishes from all over the world, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Emeril’s New Orleans
800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Chef Emeril Lagasse is a man who has hosted more than 2000 shows on the Food Network and amassed a multi-million dollar net worth that includes Emeril’s New Orleans.
In 1990 he opened his flagship restaurant in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Las Vegas. The New Orleans location focuses on new takes on New Orleans culinary cuisine with fresh ingredients and spice.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes to cater to any taste including a vegetarian tasting I enjoyed. It had creamy truffle cauliflower soup and meaty BBQ asparagus.
The restaurant focuses on what is fresh, including their more adventurous chef’s tasting menu with a focus on seafood, offering items like butter-poached halibut and seared diver scallops.
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Based on the Fox TV show, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant sits in front of Caesar’s Palace on the busy Las Vegas Strip.
From the matching kitchens and red vs. blue chef whites, the entire restaurant has a design to look like a studio set from the show.
Full wall windows give a view of the strip, so the view is always enjoyable no matter what table.
When I visited, you could choose from the signature prix fixe menu that featured pan-seared scallops, beef wellington, and sticky toffee pudding, essentially all of Ramsay’s signature dishes from the TV show.
If the fixed menu isn’t appealing, the ala carte menu also offers seared foie gras and lobster risotto with a lengthy list of fancy and creative cocktails to go with them.
723 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
In 2001, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened his first restaurant, Morimoto, in Philadelphia after leaving Nobu. Today, there are multiple Morimoto locations and sister restaurants around the world.
He’s made a name for himself on television, being the only chef to be an Iron Chef on both the original Japanese series and the newer Iron Chef America on Food Network.
His restaurant blends Japanese fare with an American palate with 17 different locations.
The restaurant offers not-to-be-missed Japanese dishes like fresh sushi, their take on donburi, called a buri bop, a dish of yellowtail fish and rice cooked in a stone bowl, and rice congee.
The American influence comes in hamachi tacos, tuna pizza, and a 54-ounce tomahawk ribeye.
6534 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599
The French-style Bouchon Bistro by Thomas Keller has locations in Yountville, California, and Las Vegas.
The Yountville location, which Keller opened in 1998, has come to possess a Michelin star that it’s held onto even today.
Keller has been a judge on several cooking shows and regularly takes the judge or expert role in competitions.
Bouchon’s lunch and dinner menu focuses on seasonal ingredients and French techniques. In my opinion, the trip is worth it just for the perfectly prepared steak frites or the leg of lamb, and if seafood is more your preference, there’s a fresh raw bar.
For special occasions, Bouchon offers sturgeon caviar in a range of price points.
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
From the French tradition at Bouchon to New American, Per Se was brought to life by Thomas Keller in 2004, who was looking to create an American French Laundry.
It currently holds a rare three Michelin star rating and has done so since 2006 at its single location overlooking Central Park in New York.
Per Se offers two tasting menus that change daily to suit various tastes. If available, I recommend the nine-course chef’s tasting menu with the oysters, caviar, and tapioca pearls.
The other option is a nine-course vegetable tasting menu. No ingredient is repeated in the meal, and the focus is on local farmers and foragers, all of whom appear on their website.
60 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065
Many of the restaurants in this list focus on casual dining, but Daniel, Daniel Boulud’s namesake two Michelin star French restaurant, encourages formal, small plate dining that requires dinner jackets and has a higher price point.
Dining at Daniel means a choice between a seven-course tasting menu available with or without meat or, my personal choice, a four-course luxury prix fixe that includes options of squab or wagyu beef, cold lobster salad, or California spot prawns.
Both menus include wine pairings for an additional charge from local wineries, and items are available ala carte.
Bobby’s Burger Palace
7002 Arundel Mills Circle Hanover, MD 21076
Food Network’s Chef Bobby Flay has opened many sit-down steakhouses.
Still, in 2008 he spearheaded a group of upscale and fast-casual burger joints called Bobby’s Burgers, featuring an American-style customizable menu.
As of 2022, there are three locations in Maryland, Georgia, and Connecticut. Other locations, as well as some of Bobby Flay’s more upscale restaurants, closed amid the pandemic.
The best part of their menu is that you can make all the burgers with veggie, beef, turkey, and chicken patties, then customize them with a large selection of toppings, cheese, and condiments.
For those that don’t feel like burgers, Bobby’s Burger Palace also serves salads, griddled cheese, three different sides, and a rotating shake flavor of the month.