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Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray in 2007
Born Rachael Domenica Ray
August 25, 1968 (1968-08-25) (age 41)
Glens Falls, New York, U.S.
Occupation Television personality, author, celebrity chef
Years active 2001–present
Official website

Rachael Domenica Ray (born August 25, 1968) is an American television personality, celebrity chef and author. She hosts the syndicated talk and lifestyle program Rachael Ray and three Food Network series, 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. Ray wrote cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept, and launched a magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, in 2006.


Personal life

She was born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts,[1][2] to Elsa Scuderi, an Italian (Sicilian) American and James Ray, who is of French, Scottish and Welsh descent.[3] Ray grew up in Lake George, New York. Her family owned a restaurant on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, called the Carvery, and her mother managed restaurants in upstate New York.

One of her first jobs was at the candy counter at Macy's in New York City, where she eventually managed the fresh foods department. She later helped open a New York City market. Moving back to upstate New York, Ray managed Mister Brown's Pub at The Sagamore, a hotel on Lake George. From there, she became a buyer at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in Albany. Ray credits the concept of 30 Minute Meals to her experience working at the store, where she met people who were reluctant to cook. She taught a course in which she showed how to make meals in less than thirty minutes. With the success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, WRGB (the local CBS TV affiliate) asked her to appear in a weekly segment 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 in 2001.

On September 24, 2005 in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, Ray married John Cusimano, a lawyer and lead singer of the rock band The Cringe. She owns homes in Lake Luzerne, New York, and Manhattan's Greenwich Village.[4][5]




Ray teaches simple recipes that she claims can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, although critics claim that her 30-minute concept does not account for preparation times and meals cannot be completed in half an hour. The best time a reviewer managed was 49 minutes.[6]

Ray says that her Sicilian maternal grandfather, Emmanuel Scuderi, and her Cajun ancestry serve as a strong influence on her cooking. She uses ingredients such as fresh herbs, garlic and chicken stock to boost flavors. She believes that measuring "takes away from the creative, hands-on process of cooking" and instead favors approximations such as "half a palmful". To critics of her shortcut techniques, Ray responds, "I have no formal anything. I'm completely unqualified for any job I've ever had."[7] She acknowledges that she cannot bake (because it requires measured ingredients), that she cannot make coffee, and that she burns bread under the broiler.

On her television programs, she has used catch phrases such as "EVOO" (extra-virgin olive oil), "yum-o", "G.B." (garbage bowl), "Oh my gravy!", "entréetizer" (entrée-sized appetizer), and "stoup" (cross between a soup and stew).[8] In 2007, The Oxford American College Dictionary announced the addition of the term EVOO (short for extra virgin olive oil), which Ray has helped to popularize, and credited her with coining the phrase.[9][10]

The set of 30 Minute Meals uses a yellow Model 61C Chambers stove from the 1950s, notable for its top-opening broiler, super-insulated oven, and unique Thermowell.

On November 12, 2006, Ray and Mario Batali defeated the team of Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis on an episode of Iron Chef America during which cranberries were the secret ingredient. On March 18, 2007, Food Network debuted a Rachael Ray episode of its special Chefography series, on which she stated that "the worst day of (her) life" was Iron Chef America, admitting to being anxious about it weeks before.


In 2005, Ray signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey and King World Productions to host a syndicated daytime TV talk show.[11] The show, Rachael Ray, premiered on September 18, 2006. Recurrent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show were used to fuel the launch, much as Dr. Phil's show was spun off based on his own frequent visits to Oprah.[12] The show tapes in New York City. In coordination with the syndication announcement, Ray said, "People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to share."

Ray has appeared on The View, The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Larry King Live.

For Sesame Street’s 38th season, Ray appeared in an episode to present "pumpernickel" as the word of the day.

On January 12, 2008, Ray's television series Rachael's Vacation premiered on the Food Network.[13] The show is a five-part food travelogue shot in various European countries.[14]

In 2008 Ray became a producer[15] of a Latin cooking show on the Food Network called Viva Daisy!. The show starred Daisy Martínez.

In August 2009, Ray appeared as herself on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for charity for Yum-O! and her own charity for animal rescue with Regis Philbin.


In 2003, she posed for the men's magazine FHM. A writer for 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 thighs."[7]

In a March 2009 interview with Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, Ray defended her decision to pose in the magazine.[16]

The Reader's Digest Association launched Ray's eponymous magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray on October 25, 2005. The magazine featured seven issues in 2006, and increased to ten issues in 2007.

Product endorsements

In November 2006, Ray became a spokesman for Nabisco crackers. She appears in commercials and on boxes for the many Nabisco products. Many boxes with Ray's picture have her recipes.

In February 2007, WestPoint Home launched sheets, blankets, and coverlets designed by Ray.[17] Within six months, WestPoint expanded Ray's bed and bath line to include the "Moppine", a two-in-one dish towel/oven mitt, as Ray is often seen with a kitchen towel over her shoulder that doubles for her as an ersatz mitt.[18]

In March 2007, the Dunkin' Donuts company announced Ray as its celebrity endorser.[19] As part of a promotional campaign, Ray describes the company's coffee as "fantabulous".[20] Celebrity chef and Travel Channel personality Anthony Bourdain has referred to Ray's affiliation with Dunkin' Donuts as "evil", and that it is like "endorsing crack for kids."[21]

In May 2007, Ray's recipes were made available on AT&T cellular phones via the "Rachael Ray Recipes on the Run" feature.[22]

In July 2008, Rachael Ray Nutrish pet food was introduced. The dog foods are created from recipes that Ray developed for her pit bull, Isaboo. All proceeds from the sale of these products go to Rachael's Rescue, a charity founded by Ray to help at-risk animals.[23]

Awards and recognition

Rachael Ray attending a high school social event in Enterprise, Alabama in 2007

Charity work

Ray's nonprofit, "Yum-O organization", launched in 2006, aims to help children and families develop a healthy relationship with food. The organization introduces children and families to the kitchen, helps combat childhood hunger in the U.S., and raises money for food-based educational programs and scholarships.[31]


  • 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 (2003)
  • Cooking Rocks!: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids (2004)
  • $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 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds (2006)
  • Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals (2006)
  • Rachael Ray: Just In Time (2007)
  • Yum-O! The Family Cookbook (2008)
  • Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book (2008)
  • Rachael Ray's Book Of 10: More Than 300 Recipes To Cook Every Day (2009)


  1. ^ Keel, Beverly (10/9/2005). "Rachael Ray's Recipe for Success". Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  2. ^ Hiltbrand, David (October 22, 2006). "One fast foodie". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. ^ Jacobs, Laura (September 11, 2007). "Just Say Yum-O!". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  4. ^ Experts Media (October 19, 2005). "Being Rachael Ray: How Cool Is That?" ( – Scholar search). Experts Media. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  5. ^ Hill, Michael (January 27, 2006). "Rachael Ray expands her reach" ( – Scholar search). Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 2007-01-15.  (registration required)
  6. ^ Pellettieri, Jill Hunter (July 13, 2005). "Rachael Ray—Why food snobs should stop picking on her". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  7. ^ a b Severson, Kim (October 19, 2005). "Being Rachael Ray: How Cool Is That?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2005-08-04. 
  8. ^ "Rachael-isms (from Every Day with Rachael Ray)". November-December, 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  9. ^ "Adding a Little the Dictionary!". December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  10. ^ Stacy Jenel Smith. From Rachael Ray to Mary J., Celebrity Word-Making, an EVOO Trend. Accessed 2009-11-24.
  11. ^ Barnes, Brooks (September 21, 2006). "TV Syndication's Ray of Hope?". The Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ Benson, Jim (December 4, 2005). "King World OKs Production on Ray". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  13. ^ ABC News: Rachael Ray Has New Food Network Series
  14. ^ Rachael's Vacation with Rachael Ray
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Rachael Ray Debuts at WestPoint". Home Textiles Today. February 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  18. ^ "WestPoint helps Rachael Ray mop up". Home Textiles Today. August 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  19. ^ Reidy, Chris (March 9, 2007). "The new face of Dunkin' Donuts". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  20. ^ Sprague, Tibet. "A (Rachael) Ray to light up the jewelry district". Providence Daily Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  21. ^ "RACHAEL'S DUNKIN' GIG 'EVIL'". New York Post. October 11, 2007. 
  22. ^ "AT&T and LimeLife Launch New Mobile Application 'Rachael Ray Recipes on the Run'". AT&T Corporate News Room. May 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  23. ^ ""Rachael Ray going to the dogs with new pet food"". Associated Press. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  24. ^ Batali, Mario (2006). "Rachael Ray". Time Magazine.,9171,1187293,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  25. ^ Top 100 Celebrities - Rachel Ray (2006). Forbes. Accessed 2007-06-26.
  26. ^ Hirsch, J.M. (April 25, 2007). "Rachael Ray launches charity and teams with Bill Clinton to get kids eating healthier". North County Times. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  27. ^ "Awards for The Rachael Ray Show". 2008. Retrieved 2008. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Official Press Release From The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences" (PDF). Retrieved 2009. 
  31. ^ Yum-O Website Retrieved November 8, 2008

External links


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