The World's Most-Awarded Michelin Star Chef

Many chefs will never know the feeling of earning a coveted Michelin star – let alone more than one. This honor is reserved for only the finest restaurants, and the chefs who run these kitchens are recognized as serving the best food in the world. But some chefs manage to earn dozens of these stars throughout their careers. Alain Ducasse currently holds the most stars of any chef globally with a staggering 21, though the chef to hold the most ever was Jöel Robuchon.


Michelin stars were born out of the Michelin Guide, which the popular Michelin tire company started in 1925 to get consumers to travel more by car. These days, it's become arguably the highest accolade a chef can earn (to clarify, stars are awarded to restaurants rather than chefs, though the chef often receives the credit). Stars are not earned forever; they're awarded each year, so if a restaurant's quality falters from one year to the next, it could lose its stars.

Alain Ducasse and Jöel Robuchon are Michelin's most decorated chefs

French-born chef Alain Ducasse's restaurants currently hold 21 Michelin stars. He is known for his Monégasque cuisine, which celebrates the tradition and culture of Monaco. Ducasse was also the first chef to have three restaurants earn three Michelin stars (the most possible) all at the same time. His most famous restaurant is Le Louis XV, in Monaco, which has held three Michelin stars for over 30 years.


Jöel Robuchon, another French-born chef, died in 2018 at age 73 — but his career spanned decades, and during that time, he earned an almost-unfathomable 31 Michelin stars across his 20 global restaurants. Robuchon opened his first restaurant, Jamin, in Paris back in 1981, and by 1984, it had earned three Michelin Stars. Joël Robuchon Restaurant in Las Vegas earned three stars in 2008, and Jöel Robuchon Restaurant in Singapore also earned three Michelin stars the first time the guide expanded to the Asian country in 2016. Robuchon also had restaurants in Monaco, Thailand, and Tokyo, the latter of which is the most affordable city for Michelin-star dining.

Other renowned chefs have plenty of Michelin stars

While earning even one Michelin star puts chefs in a different league, there are a number of chefs who have earned at least a dozen. Chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, known not only for cooking but also as a notable TV personality, actually holds the second-most Michelin stars as of 2023 with 17. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, located in Chelsea, London, became a three-star spot 23 years ago, and it has never lost a star. The French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, landed one spot behind Ramsay on the 2023 list with 14 stars. Gagnaire's eponymous restaurant in Paris holds three stars.


Though French chefs seem to take most of the top spots, there are a number of American-born chefs whose restaurants have earned three stars — if you're looking to travel locally. Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York City recently earned three stars, as did Patrick O'Connell's The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia and John Shields' Smyth in Chicago.