The following biography
Rachael Domenica Ray (born August 25, 1968
in Cape Cod, Massachusetts) is an Emmy-winning television personality
and author who currently hosts the syndicated series Rachael Ray. In
addition, she currently hosts (either in first-run or reruns) at least
four different programs on cable television's Food Network (30 Minute
Meals, $40 a Day, Inside Dish, and Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels), and has
authored a series of cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept.
Born August 25, 1968
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cooking style Quick and Easy
TV Show(s) 30 Minute Meals
$40 a Day
Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels
The Rachael Ray Show
Ray's family is Italian-American on her
mother's side and French-American on her father's side. Her family owned
a restaurant in Massachusetts, while her mother managed restaurants in
upstate New York. Rachel grew up in Lake George, New York, and her first
job was at the candy counter at Macy's in New York City. She helped open
Agata & Valentina, a New York City market. Moving back to upstate New
York, she started managing pubs and restaurants at the famed Sagamore
Resort on Lake George. From there, she became a buyer and chef at the
Cowan & Lobel market in Albany, New York. Ray credits the concept of 30
Minute Meals to her experience working at a gourmet food store where
people were reluctant to cook. She began teaching a cooking course
showing people how to make meals in thirty minutes or less. With the
success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, Schenectady, New York TV
station WRGB, the local CBS affiliate, asked her to continue on their
newscasts. This, along with a public radio appearance and the
publication of her first book, led to a Today Show spot and her first
Food Network contract. She also cut a few commercials for
Schenectady-based grocery chain Price Chopper, which stocks all her
books at their stores and retains her as an occasional spokesperson.
Ray teaches simple recipes that she claims
can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Like many cooks, she uses garlic
and chicken stock as simple ways to boost flavors. She emphasizes using
fresh herbs whenever possible. She states that measuring "takes away
from the creative, hands-on process of cooking" and instead favors
approximations such as "half a palmful" and "eyeball it". On her
television programs, she has introduced catchphrases such as "E.V.O.O."
(extra-virgin olive oil), "Yum-O!", "So delish!", "G.B." (garbage
bowl)", Spoonula, Stoup (Cross between a soup and stew.) and "How good
is THAT?" She often refers to sandwiches as "sammies".
She claims to dislike baking desserts and
to be notorious for burning bread under the broiler. Ray says her
Sicilian maternal grandfather, Emmanuel Scuderi, served as a strong
influence on her cooking. To critics of her shortcut techniques, Ray
responds, "I have no formal anything. I'm completely unqualified for any
job I've ever had."
Ray launched her own magazine, Everyday
with Rachael Ray in conjunction with Reader's Digest. The magazine
premiered on October 25, 2005 and plans bi-monthly issues in 2006.
In addition to her television hosting and
cookbooks, Ray has endorsed products for Price Chopper supermarkets and
Burger King, and has developed her own line of cookware and cutlery.
When she endorsed Wüsthof's, sales rose dramatically, and she now
endorses her own line of santoku knives. In 2003, she posed for the
men's magazine FHM. The New York Times wrote, "The shots feature Ray
in short-shorts with an exposed midriff, licking chocolate off a big
wooden spoon, eating a strawberry and sitting in a sink, laughing as
suds cascade down her curvaceous thighs." A year later, she was named
number 92 on "FHM-US's 100 Sexiest Women 2004". Most recently, she was
featured as #71 in "FHM-US's 100 Sexiest Women 2006".
In late 2005, Ray signed a deal with Oprah
Winfrey and King World Productions to host a syndicated daytime TV talk
show. The show, Rachael Ray premiered on September 18, 2006. Recurrent
appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show were used to fuel the launch, much
like Dr. Phil's show was spun off based on his own frequent visits to
Oprah. The show tapes in New York City, and Ray will continue to
appear on the Food Network. Ray said, in coordination with the
syndication announcement, "People know me for my love of food, but I
have so much more I want to share." On the September 19th episode of The
Insider, host Lara Spencer characterized the ratings for the show as "a
In addition to Oprah, Ray has appeared on
The View, The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,The Late Show
with David Letterman, and Larry King Live.
In 2006, Ray's 30 Minute Meals received an
Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show. Ray was also nominated for
Outstanding Service Show Host, but lost to Suze Orman.
Ray was also named one of Time magazine's
most influental people of 2006. She was nominated by fellow Food Network
star, Mario Batali.
According to Forbes magazine, Ray earns
about $6 million a year from her books and television shows.
Some have criticized Ray's perky demeanor
as well as her lack of a formal chef's education and perceived
unseriousness about cooking. For example, celebrity chef and Travel
Channel personality Anthony Bourdain has publicly referred to her as a
In a Slate article defending Ray, Jill
Hunter Pellettieri summarized these criticisms by writing:
Ray's ditzy demeanor also makes her
easy to dismiss. She giggles off-cue and constantly praises her own
cooking. "Smells awesome already!" she says, making her Snapper in a
Snap. "I am so psyched about that." She employs kitschy
abbreviations—EVOO means "extra virgin olive oil"—and gives her menus
corny nicknames like You-Won't-Be-Single-for-Long Vodka Cream Pasta. The
acknowledgments in her $40 a Day cookbook read like a high-school
yearbook: "Don …You are the tallest man we've ever had on crew, and yet
you pack the smallest bag—ever! Cool." And it didn't boost her
credibility when she posed for pinup shots in FHM. (One featured Ray
licking chocolate off a spoon.) When the magazine hit newsstands, she
said, "I think it is kinda cool for someone who is goofy, and a cook,
just a normal person to be thought of in that way.
The 30 Minute Meals concept has been
criticized because Ray doesn't account for certain preparation times in
the signature half-hour cooking time. Many of these preparations, such
as pre-washing herbs and vegetables, are not meal-specific, and Ray
counsels they should be done ahead of time. In the Slate article that
otherwise mostly complimented her, author Pellettieri went through
several of Ray's "30 Minute Meals" recipes and was unable to complete
any meal in under half an hour.
Ray owns homes in Lake Luzerne, New York
and Manhattan's Greenwich Village. On September 24, 2005 in
Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, Ray married John Cusimano, a lawyer and
member of the band The Cringe. Ray now owns a dog named Isaboo whom she
got after the death of her dog Boo. Rachael devoted an episode of 30
Minute Meals entirely to her deceased pet, containing all of Boo's
favorite people foods.
30 Minute Meals (1999)
Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook (2000)
Comfort Foods (2001)
Veggie Meals (2001)
30-Minute Meals 2 (2003)
Get Togethers: Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals
$40 a Day: Best Eats in Town (2004)
Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals: Cooking
'Round the Clock (2004)
Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals for Kids:
Cooking Rocks! (2004)
Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals :
Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes (2005)
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of
Deliciously Different Dinners (2005)
Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals: What to
Keep on Hand, what to Buy Fresh for the easiest ever 30 Minute Meals
Rachael Ray 2-4-6-8: Cooking for Couples or
Crowds (a 30 Minute Meal Cookbook) (2006)
1 Reader's Digest (November-December,
2005). "Rachael-isms". Every Day with Rachael Ray.
2 Kim Severson. "Being Rachael Ray: How
Cool Is That?", New York Times, October 19, 2005. Retrieved on
3 Pellettieri, Jill Hunter (July 13, 2005).
"Rachael Ray—Why food snobs should quit picking on her". Slate.
4 US, FHM (October, 2003). "Rachael Ray in
FHM". FHM Magazine. (from archive.org)
5 Benson, Jim (December 4, 2005). "King
World OKs Production on Ray". Broadcasting & Cable.
6 Time Magazine (2006). "Rachael Ray". Time
7 Salon.com (?). "Bite Me!". Salon.com.
8 Slate Magazine (July 13, 2005). "Why food
snobs should stop picking on her". Slate Magazine.
9 Slate Magazine (July 13, 2005). "In
defense of Rachael Ray". Slate Magazine.
10 Experts Media (October 19, 2005). "Being
Rachael Ray: How Cool Is That?". Experts Media.
11 Press Of Atlantic City (January 27,
2006). "Rachael Ray expands her reach". Press Of Atlantic City.
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