From Brazil to Bora Bora, China and Japan to Paris and New York, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s culinary reach is far, wide, and with a standard of excellence that has made him one of the world’s finest and most enterprising chefs. Beginning with New York bistro Jo Jo, in 1991, Vong, in 1995, and the eponymous restaurant Jean-Georges, opened in 1997, he has launched more than a dozen others (such as ABC Kitchen, Mercer Kitchen, and Perry Street) in that city alone.

French by birth (near Strasbourg, France, in the Alsace region) and by training (at Michelin three-star Auberge de l’Ill as an apprentice to Chef Paul Haeberlin, with Paul Bocuse and Master Chef Louis Outhier at L’Oasis), Vongerichten went on to explore Asia’s culinary wealth at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, the Méridien Hotel in Singapore, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong. Everywhere he went became a part of his playbook in the kitchen and is reflected in the startling diversity of his menus today.

In addition to his worldwide restaurant empire, Vongerichten has made many television appearances, including on the Today Show, the Early Show on CBS, Top Chef, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs (on PBS in 1995), and Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts with Hugh Jackman. He also co-hosted his wife Marja’s 2011 PBS series, Kimchi Chronicles.

His cookbooks include Simple Cuisine (1990); Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef (1998), a James Beard Foundation award winner in 1999; Simple to Spectacular (2000); Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges (2007); and Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes (2011).