Rachael Ray: celebrity cook, TV personality, businesswoman, and author. A literal jack of all trades who can out-cook most celebrity chefs out there. While most of us know Ray from her talk show, cooking show(s), cookbooks, and so on, there’s plenty we mere foodies aren’t privy to. That’s exactly why we rolled up our sleeves to present you with things you most likely didn’t know about chef extraordinaire, Rachael Ray.
New York born and bred, the now 49-year old Rachael Ray is an icon everyone recognizes. Parents James and Elsa used their roots of French, Welsh, Scottish, and Italian to manage restaurants – something that clearly stuck with Ray. Both experiences, being raised in New York and growing up with a diverse heritage influenced Ray’s career path. In more ways than she could have possibly imagined.
Ray has openly revealed that she holds no formal qualifications when it comes to cooking or baking. All of what she knows derives from personal experience and learning all on her own. There are times when her inexperience comes back to haunt her, especially when it comes two simple aspects in the kitchen: coffee and toast. Let us explain, Rachael cannot make a decent cup of Joe nor can she make toast without burning it. Yeah, that left us scratching our heads too.
When it comes to love, Rachael Ray is a pretty lucky gal. 2005 is the year she tied the knot – in Italy no less – to John Cusimano, an American lawyer. OH, before we forget, Cusimano is also the lead singer of The Cringe, a rock band. And guys, as if Cusimano couldn’t get cooler, he’s also a trained mixologist who often collaborates with Ray. They’ve written cookbooks and cocktail recipes together. Now that’s pretty cool!
Not many of us can say that we loved our very first job, unless we’re Rachael Ray of course. See, her first time out in the workforce landed her the gig of working the candy counter at Macy’s Marketplace – that’s pretty darn perfect. However when Macy’s attempted to promote her to a new position in accessories, she quit and began working at Agata & Valentina, a specialty foods store. Up and up, we’d say!
Everyone has a celebrity crush, everyone. Yes, your mother does too. Whether it’s any of the Ryan’s (like Gosling or Reynolds) or a Jennifer (Lopez, Aniston, Lawrence) – I mean the celerity crush list could tumble on until we’re blue in the face. Sometimes though, we have crushes that are a bit odd. Like Joe Biden or in Ray’s case, Tom Jones. Who’s that you ask? Tom Jones is the Welsh ‘Delilah’ singer and when Ray got to meet him on her show, The Rachael Ray Show, she was weak in the knees.
Nightmare for Rachael
In her late, 20’s, Rachael experienced an unfortunate nightmare. While living in the borough of Queens, Ray was walking home from work when a man attempted to mug her. The then 27 year old, used pepper spray and the assailant left. However just a few weeks later, the same man dragged her into an alley, beat her, and threatened her with a gun. Fortunately a dog spooked the assailant so he took off. Understandably the entire situation left Ray reluctant to even remain in New York City, and the nightmare is one she still carries around.
Now it’s no secret that Ray is a massive dog lover, because come on, who isn’t? Well in 2005, she rescued a pit bull who she named Isaboo and Isaboo is a huge part of the family. Huge. In fact, Rachael’s love for dogs even inspired her to launch her own brand of pet food. All of the proceeds from the sale of the pet food go to Rachael’s Rescue, which is a charity that provides assistance for all at-risk animals. Lastly, Ray even featured Isaboo on the cover of her magazine! And they called it puppy-love.
After the attempted muggings, Ray moved to upstate New York where she managed Mister Brown’s Pub at The Sagamore. Afterwards, she was a buyer at a gourmet market in Albany, Cowan & Lobel. While working at this store, Ray founded the whole concept behind 30 Minute Meals because she met so many people who were reluctant to cook. So she decided to began teaching a course showing people how to cook meals in 30 minutes or less.
Feud With Queen B
If there’s one thing mere mortals love, it’s a good celeb scandal. And Rachael Ray has gotten herself involved in quite a few of those. Most memorable is the entire Beyoncé-Jay Z-Rachael Ray-Rachael Roy fiasco. As you should already know, Beyoncé released her ‘Lemonade’ album in 2016 and her single ‘Sorry’ caused a meltdown as it spoke of her husband’s supposed affair with ‘Becky with the good hair.’ Most of Beyoncé’s fans believed that “Becky” alludes to the fashion designer, Rachael Roy. So the beehive did what they do best, they supported Beyoncé by trolling Rachael Roy’s social media, only they got Roy confused with Ray and Rachael Ray got the brunt of the insults. Yikes.
Rachael Ray Hits Back
With a truck load of insults and hurtful comments all over her social media pages, Rachael Ray had a bit of the whole “case of mistaken identity” taken to new horizons. Once the beehive realized they were actually trolling the wrong Rachael, they were quick to “apologize.” Although Ray shrugged it all off in the best way possible – she posted her very own lemonade recipe on her social media accounts. #classic
For those of you who have watched Rachael Ray’s cooking shows, then surely you’re familiar with the Garbage Bowl. You know, the pot where you put all of your garbage and food scraps until you are prepared to dispose of it all. Many people associate this neat little hack with Rachael, however the Garbage Bowl was actually first used by chef Sara Moulton on her own cooking show. That’s where Rachael got the idea herself.
Queen of Business
Long before Rachael Ray’s career took off to the point where she has her own shows, magazines, product endorsements, and so on; she already had the business sense needed to succeed. As a teenager, Ray created the gift-basket service called ‘Delicious Liaisons’, which sourced and packaged all of the gifts too. Ray also wrote the catalog – all while in high school. Overachiever much?
Aside from her love of food, Ray has a different dream job she’d be keen to fall back on. So she’d either be a rock and roll drummer OR a spy like James Bond. We’re not exactly convinced she could be either one but hey, the sky’s the limit.
On The Rise
With the insane success that Ray’s concept of “30 Minute Meals” and courses, the local CBS-TV affiliate WRGB, approached her to ask if she’d appear in a weekly segment on their newscasts. Of course Ray said yes! With the newscasts, Ray also made radio appearances and published her first book – which led to a spot on the Today show and her very first Food Network contract.
First Book: Check!
With her first television segment kicking off, it dawned on Rachael that there was a serious demand for quick, easy recipes. Which caused a light-bulb to go off – Ray published her first cookbook, titled 30 Minute Meals. The combination of the show and the cookbook attracted the attention of the Food Network where she would go on to host 30-Minute Meals for a solid 11 years.
Weight Loss Transformation
As her career began to take off, Ray began to pack on the pounds. Which is bound to happen when you’re in the kitchen 24-7. Although Rachael realized that her weight gain was dangerous and unhealthy so she made some changes. At the same time, she underwent surgery in order to remove a cyst that was on her vocal chord, which also meant that she was unable to speak for weeks. With the surgery, the inability to speak, and her weight gain – Ray kicked it into gear and hit the gym. All of that anger and frustration in the gym caused her to lose an impressive 40 pounds.
Ahh, man, we all make mistakes. All the time. Some small, some big. You know, a fender bender or misspelling someone’s name in an email or spilling coffee on our white t-shirt, it happens. Or maybe you’re Rachael Ray and you almost burn down a television set. Yes, we do really mean. While filming her first ever pilot episode for the Food Network show 30 Minute Meals, Ray made a slight, unfortunate mistake. Unaware that the pan she was about to use had already been pre-heated, she casually added oil to the pan, as one would. However that obviously was a massive mistake as the pan immediately burst into flames. Dang, that’s intense.
If there’s one thing that Rachael Ray can do well, aside from cooking, it’s creating a cookbook. In fact, she has published 27 cookbooks so far, 11 that are associated with the concept of 30 Minute Meals. Trust us, whatever cookbook you need, she’s written it. Whether it’s for kids, comfort foods, burgers, family dishes, and so on, she’s got it.
What do the tabloids love more than a celeb scandal? Celebrity weight gain. In 2016, the tabloids were reporting on Ray’s apparent weight gain to which she replied that the gain was the result of her struggle with menopause. Menopause causes hormonal changes which caused Ray to gain weight, experience binge eating, migraines, and night sweats. As a result, Ray consulted specialists to help ease the damaging effects and was successful with a homeopathic approach.
Rachael Ray Versus Oprah Winfrey
As far as talk show hosts are concerned, Oprah is the Queen. And her fans are pretty protective. So when Rachael Ray was accused of making ‘disparaging racial remarks’ about Oprah in 2007 while at dinner with her team members, and friends of Oprah, her fans went into frenzy mode. Of course Ray immediately denied the allegations, saying that she admired Oprah and appreciated all of the kindness extended to her by Oprah.
Home Sweet Home
Now, we already know that Rachael Ray can cook, can create many cookbooks, and that she loves dogs – but there’s one more thing. In December, PulteGroup announced they were launching the Rachael Ray Home Collection for their interior design division. The entire collection had been designed by Ray herself.
Most of Rachael Ray’s star status has increased thanks to her TV presence. From 2001 to 2012, she hosted 30 Minute Meals on the Food Network. In 2006, her syndicated daytime TV talk show kicked off, Rachael Ray. When her talk show was announced, she said, “People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to share.” In 2008, she did a five-part food travelogue, Rachael’s Vacation, with the Food Network. Also in 2012, she teamed up with fellow chef Guy Fieri for the Food Network’s reality series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Ray, A Model
Back in 2003, Ray was featured and posed in FHM, a men’s magazine. While she did not pose nude for any of the photos whatsoever, the criticism Ray received was incredibly harsh. Fast forward to 2009 and Ray is in an interview with ABC News Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden, who brought up the FHM shoot after all these years. Ray defended her decision to pose in the magazine, and said, “I’d do it again tomorrow.”
All Day, Every Day
The Reader’s Digest Association chose to team up with Rachael Ray in 2005 and launched the magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray. The magazine features insights into Ray’s life and shares recipes and cooking options. Originally there were six issues in the first year, but year two was bumped up to 10 issues. Then in 2011, the magazine was bought out.
Just call Rachael Ray humble, folks. She acknowledges that she is incredibly lucky to live her life as she does but when it comes to her success, she’s incredibly humble. Moreover Ray donates plenty of her earnings to charity. That’s why Ray started the nonprofit organization, Yum-O!, in 2006 – whose mission is to “empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. All of this is achieved through teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids, and funding cooking education.”
And The Award Goes To…
From her humble beginnings of teaching shoppers 30 minute meals to having her own show and cookbooks, and so much more, no one can deny that Rachael Ray is successful. Which explains why she won the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Outstanding Service Show in 2006 for 30 Minute Meals. Furthermore in 2008 and 2009, Ray won the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Outstanding Talk Show. Finally in 2011, she earned the People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Cook. Impressive is an understatement.
We were going to discuss her earnings at some point, and here we are. From 2017, it has been reported that Rachael Ray’s net worth is an estimated $60 million! All that cooking really paid off in the end, eh? Well…yeah.
Drama With A “D”
March 2007 is when Dunkin’ Donuts announced Rachael Ray as their celebrity endorser – especially when it comes to coffee as Ray has denied being able to make coffee by herself. Dunkin’ Donuts asked Ray to star in a commercial to promote their iced coffee, she accepted. And that’s where the trouble began. Ray was in Portland, Oregon, standing in front of the Golden Pioneer statue with cherry blossoms surrounding her. Sounds like a nice scene, right? WRONG.
Supporter of Extremism?
Everyone, and we mean everyone, was outraged with what Rachael Ray was wearing in the commercial. Far too many people believed that Ray’s black and white checkered scarf was a message of solidarity with the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Fox News were even all up in arms about the scarf. Additionally, Michelle Malkin, a well-known blogger even made harsh remarks. However when it was revealed that the scarf was paisley, and not checkered, it didn’t matter at all.
Dunkin’ Donuts actually wound up pulling the commercial as the backlash was so extreme. They came out to say their reason for the withdrawal was ”the possibility of mis-perception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.” Tons of angry internet “trolls” took to the internet to Photoshop some inappropriate things with Rachael Ray and the scarf. It seemed that with or without the commercial, Dunkin’ Donuts and Rachael Ray were still a laughing matter.
No Tip For You
Even though Rachael’s Ray net worth is $60 million, it’s been revealed that Ray is a lousy tipper. Despite being on a show where she and a colleague went to a restaurant and Ray left behind a massive tip, the same wasn’t true off camera. Apparently, Ray leaves behind just ten percent. Stingy? We’d say so.
Ray Takes Sides
When the 2008 United States Presidential Election was in full swing, Ray was asked to create a non-partisan issue in her magazine in order to help pull the divided country back together, by using food. While dishes like “Bipartisan Salad” were featured in the magazine, many found the photographs to be partisan. People even went on to say that the photographs showcased Obama campaign paraphernalia, but completely obscured the McCain campaign.
Ray Gets Sued
Christina Pagliarolo was a guest on the Rachael Ray show in 2013. Her reason for appearing on the show was to get Ray’s help to lose 70 pounds before her high school prom arrived. To reach her fitness goal, the show placed her on what’s known as a Rachael Ray weight loss diet and they also paid for a personal trainer. However, Pagliarolo sued the Rachael Ray show because the trainer yelled and forced her to hike on the Stairmaster and mountains. Pagliarolo claims she had been scarred physically and emotionally.
Anthony Bourdain is a world renowned chef who is famous in every corner of the globe. One of the things he’s most known for, apart from being an insanely talented chef, is that he holds nothing back. Especially when it comes to Rachael Ray. When she took on the Dunkin’ Donuts spokesperson role, Bourdain was outraged. Bourdain said that with the childhood obesity epidemic, Ray’s work with Dunkin’ Donuts was the equivalent to her selling illegal substances out on the street. Ahem, he would say that she was doing more harm than good. Ouch.
We’ve already said that Rachael Ray and John Cusimano have an adorable relationship, but it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, in 2013 the rumor mill went crazy when John was spotted visiting a private Manhattan swingers club. With tons of escorts on his arm, no less. Apparently he visited the establishment six times, without Ray’s knowledge. As soon as news broke, John threatened to sue the company who published the story, the company retracted the story almost immediately. While rumors then continued, saying that their relationship was over, this duo are still going strong.
Talk of Cancellation
So in 2014, there was genuine fear that Rachael Ray’s talk show was going to get cancelled. Ratings took a serious hit and Ray was hassled with “talk”. Apparently people complained that how she spoke to guests was inappropriate – they claim she would talk over her guests and wouldn’t let them get a word in. Whatever complaints people had didn’t stop Ray from a contract extension and now the show is doing better than ever.
She Loves Music
Rachael revealed in an interview with USA Today that she and her husband actually have a pretty eclectic taste in music. Since her husband John is a musician, they seem to appreciate every type of music genre. In the interview, she admitted, “We love rap. We love opera. We love classic rock and good pop.” We’d love to come to a party at their house!
They Renewed Their Vows
In 2015, after 10 years of marital bliss, Rachael and her husband John renewed their wedding vows. This was no ordinary ceremony though, they traveled all the way to the same Tuscan castle where they married in 2005, Castello di Velona, in Italy. During the tear-jerking ceremony, Ray recited an emotive poem to her husband, that said, ‘Under any circumstance, I would still choose you and I would still be with you. And I love you more than all the whiskey in heaven,’” Aw!
She Loves Music Festivals
We already know that Rachael has an eclectic taste in music, but she’s also attended the SXSW music festival in Austin Texas for 20 years! Now that’s some dedication! SXSW is the largest music festival of its kind, and in 2014 featured over 2,000 acts, so we’re sure she could take her pick of which acts to follow!
She’s Not A Desserts Gal
Rachael is infamous for her 30 minute meals, but some might not realize that she’s not so much a ‘desserts gal’. In an interview with People, she once said, “I hate sweets. I’d always rather drink.” Well at least we know what to buy her for Christmas!
She Loves Records
Rachael is such a devoted music fan, that the celebrity chef owns around 2,000 vinyl records, which she also vacuums before playing! She explained to the Wall Street Journal that how “the most expensive thing in our apartment is our record player.” She also said that if her house caught fire, the one record she would save is ‘Hunky Dory’ by David Bowie!
Her Expanding Furniture Range
Since starting her branded furniture collection a few years ago, aptly called ‘Rachael Ray Home’, her line has gone from strength to strength. Now the collection includes around 300 pieces and counting. Not only that, she also offers kitchenware, cookware, nutritional snacks, home accessories, wall decor, bedding, bath furniture and beyond!
As far as celebrity endorsements go, having the Hollywood superstar Cameron Diaz endorse you is pretty impressive. In her book ‘The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time’, Cameron credits Rachael Ray as one of her “food inspirations”.
Her Fave Cookbook
Throughout her epic career, Rachael has produced numerous cookbooks and her show 30 minute meals has been running for 11 seasons and counting. However, she admitted that her cookbook Everyone Is Italian on Sunday is “the single most important work of my life. It represents decades of enjoying and working with food and the people I love most in this world.”
In 2016, Rachael famously made up different burgers to represent each presidential candidate. In an interview with People magazine, she said “There could be ‘The Bernie Sanders Vermont Burger’ with a maple mustard, good crusted bacon, and super-sharp Vermont cheddar. . . . The Clinton Burger would be tough, though, because her husband is vegan. . . . That one would have to be like a ‘Go-on-the-Clinton-Cleanse Quinoa Burger.'” And for Donald Trump? “The Burger That Will Trump All.”
Young And Hungry
Not content with being a celeb chef, music fan, furniture entrepreneur and TV personality, Rachael once starred in the sitcom Young & Hungry. In that episode, the “Young & Rachael Ray”, two of the characters, Gabi and Sofia’s find some creative ways to get over their exes and end up attracting of the attention of TV host Rachael Ray.
She was a high school cheerleader
Rachael has been a go-getter from the beginning, and won everyone over with her infectious smile and determined attitude, so it may come as no surprise that she was actually a cheerleader at her school. She attended Lake George High in upstate New York and was at the top of the pyramid, which is incidentally where she is in her career now!
Her Raspy Voice
One of the reasons why Rachael is so charismatic, is because she has a trademark husky voice. Though many might not be aware that her raspy voice was actually one of the side-effects of suffering from Croup as a toddler, a viral infection that helped damage her throat. In any case it only added to her charms and sex appeal and we could listen to her all day!
Read More: https://www.mashed.com/38124/things-didnt-know-rachael-ray/?utm_campaign=clip
She’s Just Like Us
Another endearing fact about Rachael, is that since she was never trained as a professional chef, she’s more relate-able as a TV personality. She prepares food and cooks just like us. There’s no pretentiousness, she cuts vegetables just like us, she eyeballs measurements, she cuts things smaller so they’re easier to cook. It makes her more lik-able and is perhaps one of the reasons why she’s so successful.
It’s a family affair
Rachael comes from a huge family, which have been a big inspiration in her life and her choice of recipes. Her mom is Italian, the oldest of 10 children and passed on her work ethic and dedication to Rachael. Her father is half Cajun and she has two siblings, Maria Betar who writes recipes for her website and Manny. She was also immensely influenced by her grandfather and credits him for her love of food and her first word: “vino” Italian for wine. She once said “He used to put a little wine diluted with water in her baby bottle when she got fussy.”
Her Parents Were In The Restaurant Biz
Although Rachael wasn’t professionally a trained chef, she have some professional training through growing up working in her parents’ restaurants. Rachael’s parents ran The Carvery in multiple locations and she said her and her siblings “did every crap job there was — dishwasher, busgirl.” She added how it was that experience, as well as watching her mom cook at home, that led her to where she is today.
She was kicked out of the Girl Scouts
Although she seems to have had a squeaky clean reputation. Ray admitted that she was once in the Girl Scouts and kicked out because, “I had three demerits: I made up dirty lyrics to a Girl Scouts song; I didn’t wear my full uniform, just the hat and sash; and worst of all, a girl broke her arm (’nuff said). That was it for me!” Nevertheless, in 2007, she did have the opportunity to redeem herself after inviting a Girl Scout onto her show and helping her earn their cooking badge.
She’s not so glam at home
Although Ray always looks picture-perfect and glamorous on the TV, when she goes home, she prefers to be comfy. She admitted,”the second I’m inside my front door, I wash my face and put my hair in a ponytail,” she told the Food Network blog. “My entire wardrobe consists of flannel pajamas and [New York] Jets slippers.”
Career Before Family
Ray married the musician John Cusimano in 2005, and once said that they haven’t stopped talking since they met. Surprisingly, she told Good Housekeeping that she still puts her career before her marriage as, “I can’t give a man an enormous amount of attention, and John is totally down with that.” After leaving a trail of broken hearts behind her, she said if anyone she was dating started to be demanding with time, she simply moved on.
Her budding acting career
After taking the cooking world by storm, she has also been gradually breaking into the world of acting. After starring as herself in the Young and Hungry, she has also appeared in other shows like 30 Rock and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In 2017, she also made her film debut in the animated Emoji Movie as the voice of Spam.
She can get pretty political
Ray seems to be unstoppable in every area, including politics. In 2016, she explained why she based her furniture line in the US, telling CNBC that “American public is fed up with being underemployed…”I think our employment rate keeps rising, but we have skilled people that are doing jobs that are not skilled. I think we’ve been frustrated as a country to bring jobs back, and I think we’re on a good path. More and more you see ‘Made in America.’ We certainly try as a company to do our part to get it made here and bring jobs back here.” Although some parts are made in China,, she added how “you have to make sure our economy is also being invested in, and we’re partners to that. That’s our goal with everything.”
Ray for President, anyone!??