For those of us whose hearts and minds are often ruled by our stomachs, a truly fantastic meal can turn even the direst of days into a delightful one. America's obsession with food and all things related has never been more apparent than now, thanks to the plethora of wildly popular cooking instruction and competition television shows, best-selling cookbooks and culinary Web sites that command more traffic than many other popular sites combined.
Behind the surge in food-related entertainment are a smattering of celebrity chefs that bring personality, culinary know-how and a dash of intrigue to the dinner table.
We've compiled a list of 10 of the most well-known and influential celebrity chefs ruling the marketplace today. The true test of their celebrity status? Even if you've never sat down to watch a cooking show, you probably know who many of these food fanatics are.
Read the next page to learn about the very first celebrity chef.