A good chef will inspire you to cook. You can tell when someone is a good chef because you can see their passion for cooking. It looks like art when they put ingredients together and create something amazing. There have been a lot of great chefs that offer inspiration to those who want to follow in their footsteps.

Of course, there are chefs today that offer inspiration like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck, but we want to talk about chefs who are no longer with us. This gives you a chance to learn about great chefs who have inspired a lot of chefs who are cooking now. If you want to become a chef it’s important to learn about their stories. You can learn how they got started, their techniques and then follow in their footsteps. The chefs we’ll list below are in no particular order.

It's inspiring to learn about past chefs.
It's inspiring to learn about past chefs. Source: Elle Hughes, Pexels

Julia Child

She is most known for her personality and for inspiring millions of people to start cooking. Julia Child was a talented and kind-hearted chef. She wanted to help people become better chefs in their kitchens. In 1963 she had her first cooking program. The program showed her passion for teaching and her skills in the kitchen. Julia Child changed American cuisine with her French background. She was able to create an approachable version of French cooking for her audience.

Julia always loved enjoying good food as well as cooking it. She studied in France in the 1950s to gain experience. A few years later she created her cooking school to share her passion for cooking with other chefs. This was her first time teaching. In 1961 she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The book was a huge success. Julia Child would later go on to create more books and t.v programs. She also hosted several cooking shows. She passed away on August 12, 2004

Anthony Bourdain

He was known for hosting several tv shows around culinary and being a world-class chef. Anthony Bourdain spent his life sharing his passion for cooking. He was raised in New York City. His first time into the cooking world was when he graduated from Culinary Insitute of America in 1978. Shortly after graduating, he ran several New York restaurants and later became the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

Anthony Bourdain created several bestselling cooking books. In the 2000s he also had 2 seasons on The Food Network. The show was called Cook Tour and featured him travelling the world experiencing different cuisines. He was a huge success on t.v and this led Anothy Bourdain to do several shows. His most popular show was Anthony Bourdain: No reservations. He died on June 8, 2018.

Anthony Bourdain on the left. Photo credit: Peabody Awards on VisualHunt.com / CC BY
Anthony Bourdain on the left. Photo credit: Peabody Awards on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Charlie Trotter

He doesn’t share a similar story compared to other chefs. Charlie Trotter didn't discover his passion for cooking until he was in college. He taught himself to cook through reading and practicing. Charlie Trotter had no education when it came to the cuisine but was able to learn from other great chefs. In 1987 Trotter opened a restaurant in Chicago which for over 20 years was considered the finest dining restaurant in the world. Charlie Trotter had a passion for fine dining.

Charlie Trotter continued to achieve great things in the culinary world. In the 2000s he expanded his restaurants to Las Vegas. Later on, he wrote 14 cookbooks and started on his cooking show. He continued to do creative things in the culinary world and other parts. He started the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation. They would host weekly dinners for high school students. He died on November 5, 2013.

James Beard

He was an American chef who loved teaching people how to cook. James Beard didn’t start as a chef. He wanted to be an actor. Unfortunately, for him, he wasn’t as successful as an actor. He started a catering business in 1939 and this started his cuisine journey. The next year he published his first cookbook which had huge success. In 1946 James beard was the host of several cooking shows. He was also a part of the first cooking show in televised history called I love to eat. A year later James started his cooking school in New York City.

James Beard went on to do more great things in the culinary world. He opened more restaurants, wrote more cooking books and was on a few more cooking shows. In 1981 Jim Beard created a charity that provided meals for seniors at home. The charity has provided over 50 million meals. He died on Jan 21, 1985.

For more information on the culinary world check out these articles: Canadian Cooking Shows and Introduction to the Culinary World


Nathan Fong

He is better known as a food stylist but still is a fantastic chef. Nathan Fong always had a passion for cooking. He studied cooking at the Dubrelle Culinary Institute in Vancouver. He started a catering company after graduating, but he found a love for food styling. He worked with brands such as Coca-cola, McDonald's and A&W. Aside from food styling Nathan Fong worked as a chef for the British Columbia government.

Nathan Fong did a lot of amazing culinary things. He had his own t.v show as well as a radio show. He’s been called the Canadian version of Julia Child. Fong loved cooking and sharing his passion with the world. He had many interests in the kitchen but also worked on projects outside the kitchen. He created the Passions Gala that benefited Dr. Peters’ Aids Foundation. He passed away on March 30, 2020.

Nathan Fong on the left. Photo credit: Urban Mixer on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC
Nathan Fong on the left. Photo credit: Urban Mixer on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC

What Do All These Chefs Have in Common?

Becoming a famous chef is not an easy thing to do. The culinary world has always been full of amazing chefs that have dominated the industry. These chefs were able to rise to the top in their culinary careers and for good reasons. These chefs first had a passion for cooking. They love being in the kitchen and creating dishes. Cooking was what they were supposed to do in life. Second, each chef stayed consistent. Most of these chefs had their ups and downs but in the end, they believed in themselves and stuck with it. If you're struggling as a new chef you need to stay consistent with what you're doing. The third reason for each chef being on this list is they were the best at what they did. Each chef on this list was at the top of the culinary world as far as teaching, skills and technique in the kitchen. Nobody else compared to them.

As an aspiring chef, you need to be ready for what's to come. Reading about these chefs should give you some insight into what you need to do to become the next great chef. You need to be ready to put in the work and stay consistent. Taking a cooking course can greatly increase your chances of making it to the top. You'll be able to set yourself apart from other chefs and become the best at what you do. Superprof has 100s of different cooking tutors all over Canada. They have the experiencing and knowledge to help you get better at cooking. Superprof offers lessons online and in-person giving you the freedom and flexibility to learn to cook when you want to learn.

Start Cooking Today

Are you ready to start cooking? We hope learning about each of these chefs that have passed will give you the motivation and inspiration to start working towards becoming the best. If becoming a great chef is something you've always considered now is the time to take that step forward. You could be the next great chef in Canada. Start with a Superprof cooking tutor to get the skills you need. Become a chef today!

For more information on the culinary world check out these articles: Best Chefs in the World and Canadian Dishes.


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You can usually find me writing at a cafe sipping on coffee or working out at the gym. I fell in love with writing a few years ago and have never looked back. I love being able to share my words with the world.