Fearless animal bits consumer Andrew Zimmern hits up his blog today to call bullshit on Forbes' listicle of the highest earning chefs. Zimmern, who has some first-hand knowledge about such matters, writes: "in terms of true income the list is way off base." The list includes Gordon Ramsay (at #1) but oddly not Jamie Oliver (Back in April, the Sunday Times calculated that Oliver was worth an astounding $243.9 million).
The metrics used by Forbes are vague and unclear. Forbes' Dorothy Pomerantz described the methodology: "We looked at each chef's cut of the revenue from his or her restaurants and things like TV pay, merchandise royalties and cookbook payments. We did not deduct for taxes or the cost of being a celebrity chef." Hit it Zimmern:
Some of the chefs on the list make waaaaay more than what is listed, and I can think of several chefs off the top of my head who aren't on the list at all who have better months than the number 10 chef (Guy Fieri at 8 million) has years. Mario at number 5? Ever seen the checkout line at Eataly? Correct answer to that question is which location? Their math is way off base. Keller, Boulud, Colicchio . . . I could go on and on . . . lots of chefs who keep these matters private are doing very well, and I imagine some of the bozos on the list love to see their name up there. It's nauseating.
Looks like the "food consultants, restaurant owners and industry analysts" that Forbes looked to for information perhaps didn't get the whole story?