The true story of Rachael Ray

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Let’s be honest, we all have dreams of being super famous. We’ve dreamt of having our face on TV, our names covering the shelves of Barnes & Noble, and people stopping us in the street to get an autograph. But what would you be famous for? For some people, it’s all about being a pop star. For others, they want their name in lights as one of the top actors in Hollywood. Some want to be a social media superstar. However, when you look at all the different celebrities out there in the unknown (because we’re not allowed in), there is a growing trend – and singers, actors, and socialites are being taken over by a brand new class of fame; chefs.

Over the past few decades, chefs have dominated our TV screens, radios, bookshelves and magazines, because we all love to have a cooking idol to look up to. Hundreds of famous chefs across the world have made millions selling their craft. You have Gordon Ramsay with his (hilariously funny) Hell’s Kitchen TV show and restaurants all across America, Europe, and Asia. You have Wolfgang Puck with his incredibly successful catering service, high-class restaurants, and acting roles. Then there’s Paula Deen (who a lot of people dislike, but we actually love her) with her healthy and unhealthy recipes, cookbooks, TV shows and restaurants. And there are so many more. These celebrity chefs have all benefitted from their charisma, their talent and their ability to work a camera for specialist food channels such as the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. And we all love a good cooking show, right?

But one chef trumps all of those other celebrity chefs – Rachael Ray. Check out all of our favorite facts and secrets about one of the world’s most famous celebrity chefs. Some may shock you…

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The early years

Rachael Ray is a true New Yorker through and through. She was born in the beautiful city of Glen Falls on August 25, 1968, to James Claude Ray and Elsa Providenza Scuderi. With a father who is French, Welsh and Scottish and a mother who is Italian, it’s fair to say Rachel had a few influences during her childhood, being brought up learning about her ancestry and her cultural roots, as well as the various foods within them.

Rachael Ray is the first person to tell you that she doesn’t have any formal qualifications in cooking or baking – in fact, it’s all come from her own experience and learning everything herself. However, when it comes down to one important thing, this inexperience really does affect her life. Yep, Rachael Ray cannot make a good cup of coffee. (You think you know someone, ey?) Rachael has even admitted in the past that she struggles to cook toast, and she always burns it! Well, guess you can’t be good at everything…

The perfect match?

We have to say; we kinda wish we were Rachael Ray. With her incredible career and celebrity status, she has it all. But there’s something else we’re pretty jealous of – her #couplegoals. In 2005, Rachael married her beau, John Cusimano, and they are downright adorable. John is not only a highly intelligent lawyer, but he’s also the lead singer of an indie-rock band called The Cringe (I mean, how cool is that?) As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also a trained mixologist and teams up with Rachael to write cookbooks/cocktail recipe books.

Her first job

There aren’t many of us who can say we loved our first job. Whether it was flipping burgers, working the till, waiting tables or serving coffee, they were all pretty boring – but we were young, and wanted the money! Rachael Ray’s first job was at the candy counter at Macy’s Marketplace (errr, a dream come true?) but the company then tried to move her to accessories, so she left. After quitting, Rachael was employed by the specialist food store Agata & Valentina, which sparked her love of food.

Celebrity crush

Let’s be honest; we’ve all had a celebrity crush at some point in our lives. Sometimes they’re warranted (like Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie) and sometimes they’re just a bit odd. When Rachael Ray was younger, she had a crush on the Welsh ‘Delilah’ singer, Tom Jones. I mean, we kinda get it. We kinda don’t. According to Rachael, she was completely over the moon when she got to meet him on The Rachael Ray Show.

Scarred for life

During her late 20s, Rachael moved to the outskirts of New York City, in the borough of Queens. One night, the 27-year-old was walking home from work when a man approached her and tried to mug her. Luckily, Rachael was carrying pepper spray and managed to fend him off.However, a few weeks later the man returned, and Rachael was dragged into a nearby alleyway where the man threatened her with his gun and beat her. He ran off after he was spooked by a dog, but the event scarred her for life.

She just loves Pitbulls

I mean, she’d be pretty darn heartless not to love dogs, but Rachael Ray’s obsession goes way beyond just having a cute puppy as her phone screen saver (because everyone does that, right?) In 2005, Rachael adopted a rescue Pitbull by the name of Isaboo – to Rachael, she is absolutely perfect and a huge part of her family. Her love for Isaboo inspired her to create her own pet food brand, and she even put her on the cover of her Rachael Ray magazine! What a glorious life.

The start of something new

After being mugged while living in Queens, Rachael decided to move further away from the city so relocated further upstate. During this time, Rachael managed a local pub and restaurant in a hotel, before switching jobs to become a buyer for a gourmet market in Albany. While working here, Rachael noticed two things: that people were reluctant to spend time cooking their meals, and that certain items weren’t selling. Rachael suggested teaching ‘30-minute meal ideas’ in the store and volunteered herself as the chef.

The Beyoncé scandal

Now, we all love a good celebrity scandal, and Rachael Ray got herself caught up in one the biggest scandals of the decade. Of course, we’re talking about Beyoncé/Jay Z/ Rachael Ray/Rachael Roy. In 2016, Beyoncé released her ‘Lemonade’ album – and her song ‘Sorry’ caused major outrage as she sung about Jay Z’s alleged affair with ‘Becky with the good hair.’ Many believed this to be Rachael Roy, a fashion designer. However, Beyoncé fans got confused and started trolling Ray’s social media pages instead. Oops.

Rachael Ray responds

After a massive doxxing, hurtful comments on her Instagram and Twitter, and thousands of Beyonce’s followers (called “the beehive”) started publicly criticizing Rachael Ray, they figured out that Ray actually had nothing to do with the song “Sorry,” and that they had attacked the wrong person. However, Ray took it all in stride, and actually responded to them. How did she respond you ask? She posted a lemonade recipe on her Instagram!

The Garbage Bowl

If you’re a fan of Rachael Ray’s cooking shows, you’ve probably all been incredibly impressed with the Garbage Bowl – the nifty little pot that you can put all of your waste and food scraps in until you’re ready to take it out to the trash. Many people associated this invention with Rachael (if you can even call it an invention. It is just a bowl). However, the Garbage Bowl was first used by Sara Moulton on her own cooking show, who then gave the idea to Rachael to use.

A business mogul

Nowadays, Rachael Ray is known as a very successful businesswoman, with her own shows, books, cookery range and endorsement projects – but this hasn’t just come from her celebrity career. In fact, Rachael has been a keen businesswoman since high school, and even started her own business in her teens! During her high school years, Rachael started the ‘Delicious Liaisons’ gift-basket service, and sourced and packaged the gifts as well as writing the catalog. What a biz-whiz.

Her dream job

Obviously, Rachel is living the high-life with her highly successful career and celebrity lifestyle. However, like all of us, Rachel often thinks about what her life would be like if she hadn’t been so lucky. So what would her dream job be? Well, Rachael would either be a feisty female rock and roll drummer (so cool), or she’d be the ultimate female super-spy, Jane Bond. Yep, we’re totally loving that. Maybe in a few years?

Gaining traction

After starting her ‘30-minute meals’ cookery class, it was becoming increasingly popular, and the concept was gaining traction every day. Soon, people from all across New York were visiting the shop to get ideas and recipes from Rachael. The news quickly spread to the local WRGB television station, who became interested in Rachael as a persona, and her ideas and talent. Ultimately, they offered her her first TV gig, and Rachael began her TV career with a weekly segment during their news casts.

Her first book

After gaining her first TV segment, Rachael soon realized that the demand for quick and easy cooking recipes was incredibly high – and she wanted to use that to her advantage. So, in 1999, Rachael published her first cooking book ‘30 Minute Meals.’ Because of Rachael’s already popular TV segment, the book was incredibly popular, and Ray’s career really took off. She was soon offered a contract with the Food Network where she hosted the 30-Minute Meals show for 11 years.

Weight loss

During the early stages of her career, Rachael Ray began to put on weight (if you’re making yummy meals each day, it’s bound to happen). However, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she needed to make changes. When she was 40-years-old, Rachael had surgery to remove a cyst on her vocal chord, which meant she could not speak for weeks. To get out her frustration, Rachael started going to the gym, and soon realized she loved it. She lost her anger, and she lost 40lbs.

The pilot fiasco

Because we’re only human, we all make mistakes. We often take the wrong turning on the highway, say the wrong thing to your partner, accidentally shred the wrong bit of paper at work (oops) or drink your morning coffee too quickly. Or, if you’re Rachael Ray, you can nearly burn down a TV set. Yep. While she was filming her first pilot episode for 30 Minute Meals, Rachael was unaware that the pan she wanted to use had already been preheated, and nonchalantly added in some oil. Of course, it didn’t end well, and the pan burst into flames.

Her cookbooks

Now, everyone knows Rachael Ray, and we probably all have at least one of her cookbooks in our home – but that’s not very hard, considering there are LOADS of them. In fact, since 1999 Rachael has published a whopping 27 cookbooks, including 11 books within the 30-Minute Meals franchise. This is as well as cookbooks for couples, families, burger fanatics (which is everyone), vegetarians, and recipes for every occasion. It’s fair to say she’s done pretty well for herself.

Weight gain

In 2016, many tabloids began to report on Rachael Ray’s apparent weight gain. Ray soon reacted to these photos, and the 48-year-old stated that the weight gain was a result of her struggle with the menopause. The hormonal changes in her body were causing her to gain weight, binge eat, and causing her migraines and night sweats. The celebrity chef went to see numerous specialists to help with these effects and eventually found success in a homeopathic approach.

Rachael vs. Oprah

When it comes to Oprah, the people of the world are pretty protective (well, she is pretty darn amazing). In 2007, Rachael became entangled in a tabloid scandal, after she apparently made ‘disparaging racial remarks’ about the talk show host while having dinner with members of her team and people close to Oprah. However, Rachael has since denied these claims, and denied making any racist comments towards Oprah, who had been so kind to her in the past.

Rachael Ray Home

Alongside her cooking career, Rachael Ray has also expanded her brand over the last few years. In 2016, Rachael unveiled a new project she had been working on – a 300-piece furniture collection. The furniture collection contains furniture designed for every room and occasion, but has one recurring theme; space saving. Just like many of her cooking products, Rachael designed her furniture to fit in rooms with little space for the average person. And of course, she designed an epic dog bed. We love that!

TV shows

Since the beginning of her career, Rachael Ray has increased her celebrity profile through her numerous television shows. Alongside her 11-year run on the Food Network with her 30-Minute Meals show, Rachael has also had her own daytime talk show simply called, Rachael Ray. In 2008, Rachael once again teamed up with Food Network to bring us her five-part Rachael’s Vacation travelogue show and even worked with Guy Fieri for their Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.

FHM Magazine Shoot

In 2003, Rachael Ray took part in a controversial magazine shoot with popular men’s magazine, FHM. The magazine is notorious for shooting nude and sexual pictures of famous celebrities and models, and although Ray was not nude in any of her photos – her appearance in the magazine was highly criticized. However, Ray has since stated that she doesn’t regret her decision to pose for the magazine, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Rachael Ray Every Day

In 2005, The Reader’s Digest Association teamed up with Rachael Ray to bring fans and cookery a brand new magazine called Rachael Ray which offered insights into her life, recipes and cooking ideas. In the first year, they released seven issues and then increased that to 10 issues the next year. In 2011, the magazine was bought out and is now an extremely popular website filled with recipes, food how-tos, home and entertaining ideas and videos.

Giving something back

Rachael Ray has always been extremely humble about her success and has always felt incredibly lucky to have the life she has. However, she also wants to use her money and social standing to help others. That’s why in 2006, Rachael initiated her Yum-O! A non-profit organization with the sole aim to entice families and children to embrace healthy lives and relationships through cooking. The money raised goes towards food education, cookery classes and feeding those who are less fortunate.

Winning awards

Since her days of teaching customers how to cook in a store, Rachael Ray has come on leaps and bounds, and her books and TV shows have been incredibly successful. In 2006, Ray won a Daytime Emmy Award for her 30-Minute Meals show, and has also won the Daytime Emmy Award for the Best Outstanding Talk Show two years in a row (2008 and 2009) for her talk show, Rachael Ray. Those are definitely achievements to be proud of.

Rachael Ray subscription service

Nowadays, Rachael Ray is embracing the world of technology and wowing her fans with her website and subscription service. As well as using her cookbooks and online videos, Ray allows her dedicated followers to receive all of the latest updates, news, and recipes right to their email all free of charge. This concept is proving incredibly popular with people around the world, as her recipes are both healthy and delicious (and we think so too).

Dog recipes

As well as caring for her own dog, Rachael Ray has also devoted a lot of her time to create her own brand of pet food. The ‘Nutrish’ brand is closely linked to a charity she founded called ‘Rachael’s Rescue’ which offers help, support and care for animals who are at-risk. All of the proceeds from the sale of Nutrish go to the charity, who also help out ‘no-kill’ animal shelters around the country. Is there anything this woman can’t do?!

Rachael Ray Store

From her incredible work as a TV cook, Rachael has also had the opportunity to create her own kitchen and homeware products for her fans to buy. With everything from kitchen utensils to non-stick trays, to knives and frying pans, Rachael prides herself on offering cheap and affordable products that anyone can use. She also makes sure that she only sells products that are needed in a kitchen, rather than selling bulky gimmicks people will never use. They are sold in numerous major retailers.

Net Worth

When it comes to it, Rachael Ray has dipped her spatula into numerous mixing bowls (excuse the terrible cookery pun). Because of this, it’s not surprising that Rachael Ray’s net worth is pretty impressive. According to a 2017 review, Rachael’s net worth comes in at a whopping $60 million! Thankfully, the Rachael Ray empire is still going strong today, so she won’t be going anywhere soon. We’ve still got a whole load more cooking to do…

Drama with Dunkin’

Rachael Ray was tapped to be a Dunkin’ Donuts spokesperson and was asked to appear in several advertisements for the company from 2007 up until 2010. During that time she was asked to star in a commercial promoting the company. She was standing in Portland, Oregon in front of the Golden Pioneer statue with cherry blossoms blooming all around her. And yet, it aroused fury and controversy. But why?

Supporting extremism?

As it turns out, it had to do with what Rachael Ray was wearing in the spot. Many people saw her black and white checkered scarf and assumed she was a keffiyeh in a message of solidarity with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In fact, there was so much outrage over the scarf (which turned out to be paisley and not checkered) that even Fox News started to talk about it, and a prominent blogger named Michelle Malkin slammed the TV spot.


The backlash caused by the ad was so strong that it was actually pulled by Dunkin’ Donuts with the company saying of the add that ”the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.” However, this did not stop the denizens of the internet from poking fun at the ad and photoshopping the scarf into a slew of other things, including a Jewish prayer shawl, otherwise known as a “Talit.”

Bad tipper

Rachael Ray has been on the air for years, and even was the host of several shows which help people discover cheap ways to go out and have great meals. She was even in a show which saw her and a colleague go to restaurants and leave giant tips for exceptional waiters (sometimes up to $10,000). However, it turns out that when she goes out to eat in her private life, she only tips a measly ten percent.

Taking sides?

During the 2008 United States Presidential Election, Rachael Ray was tasked with coming up with a non-partisan issue of her famous Rachel Ray Magazine which would help to pull the divided country back together over food. However, while there were dishes such as “Bipartisan Salad” featured in the mix, it turns out that the photographs may have revealed some partisan identity. Many have said that the pictures in the piece prominently display Obama campaign paraphernalia, but obscure the McCain gear.

Sued by teen

A girl named Christina Pagliarolo went on the Rachael Ray show back in 2013 in order to try and lose a whopping 70 pounds before her high school prom. In order to reach this goal, the show put her on a Rachael Ray weight loss diet and paid for a personal trainer. However, Pagliarolo decided to sue the Rachael Ray show due to the trainer yelling at her and forcing her to hike up Stairmasters and mountains. She said that she has been scarred both physically and emotionally.

Anthony Bourdain’s huge diss

Anthony Bourdain is a chef famous all over the world not only for his travel shows, but also for being unafraid to voice his opinion. And boy does he have an opinion about Rachael Ray. When Ray accepted an offer by Dunkin’ Donuts to be their spokeswoman, Bourdain was extremely upset. He said that in light of the childhood obesity epidemic, Ray pitching for Dunkin’ was the same as her selling illegal substances on the street. He said she was doing way more harm than good.

Trouble in paradise

Despite their seemingly perfect relationship, Rachael Ray and husband John Cusimano haven’t always been plain sailing. In 2013, rumors circulated that John had been visiting a private Manhattan swingers club with numerous escorts on his arm. John was apparently spotted no less than six times entering the New York venue, completely unbeknownst to his wife. However, John sued the paper that printed the article, and the story was retracted. The couple managed to pull through the ordeal and are happier than ever. Thank goodness.

Pen and paper

There is one thing that Rachael Ray doesn’t leave the house without – and that’s a pen and paper. Rachael is absolutely obsessed with notebooks and always makes sure she’s carrying one with her at all times for when inspiration strikes. Sometimes, she could be in the middle of a workout at the gym and think of the best new recipe that will probably be absolutely delicious, knowing Rachael and her food (we wish our brain worked like that).

She just loves burgers

Yep, one of the best and most sophisticated TV chefs in history loves one of the simplest recipes ever – what are the chances? A good burger and side-salad is one of Rachael Ray’s favorite dinnertime meals, but hers are a bit more sophisticated than your average McDonald’s burger. In fact, Rachael has even published her ‘Book of Burger’ which will provide you with some of her best burger recipes. We absolutely love this. And burgers.

She’ll eat anything

Although Rachael Ray would choose a good burger over anything else, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t tried a few exotic flavors. In an interview, Rachael spoke about all the weird and wonderful dishes and ingredients she’s eaten over the course of her career. She’s tried crispy fried maggots, bugs, brains, and she’s even tried eyeballs. In her words, she’ll eat anything! We hope she doesn’t add those to her cook books, though.

She loves kids

Although she doesn’t have any kids of her own, Rachael Ray loves kids. More than anything, Rachael loves to cook with children, because they simply have no boundaries. Adults have rules and ways they all like to cook, whereas kids go with the flow and let their imaginations wander. MOST of the time, this always creates delicious food and recipes. Although other times it ends up in a hot mess that is totally inedible and gross…

Her first meal

Rachael now spends most her time in the kitchen, but it hasn’t always been that way. When she was a child, Rachael tried to avoid the kitchen. However, she did make her first gourmet meal when she was just 11-years-old. She made the dinner for her mom and made her Lasagne roll-ups that were stuffed with spinach, mushroom, and gorgonzola. She then gave her mom a Mimosa to wash it down with. We’re not sure on that pairing.

The Green Room

When celebs go on TV shows, they’ll often set up shop in the Green Room before and after they go onto the set – and most of the time, they get pretty spoiled. However, the guests who appear on The Rachael Ray Show get pretty special treatment, as Rachael personally caters for everyone who sits in the Green Room. Rachael and her staff will provide their guests with anything they could possibly want to eat when they want it!

The finger mishap

When filming her first ever live segment for the Food Network, Rachael Ray had a bit of a finger mishap. In the middle of the segment, Ray cut her finger to the point where it was nearly sliced off. However, Rachael continued on as if nothing had happened, but it has not been the same since. Now, she can barely feel it, and can even hold it over an open flame without feeling the burning pain. Ouch. Or not.

Long days

It’s no surprise that Rachael Ray has a pretty hectic schedule, but unlike the rest of us who would normally crash and burn – Ray revels in this busy lifestyle. When she was filming the Rachael Ray Show, she would record three episodes every single day, meaning a 6am wake-up call and a 7pm wrap time. According to Ray, her time goes quicker when she’s busy, and she loves it that way. Rather her than us…

Winging it

Although she’s made a career as a highly successful celebrity chef and TV personality, Rachael will be the first person to tell you that she doesn’t do things properly. Ray isn’t a fan of measuring her ingredients and spends most of her time winging it. Although this isn’t too much of a problem for dinner recipes, she has admitted she isn’t the greatest baker as she doesn’t use the correct amount of ingredients… and her cakes are normally a flop.

High school cheerleader

We don’t know much about Rachael Ray’s life before she became super-duper famous, but we do know a little snippet of information from her high school years. It’s hard to imagine our favorite chef doing anything other than cooking, but yes; Rachael Ray was a cheerleader! She cheered for her small New York high school, and absolutely loved it. Give us an R! Give us an A! Give us a Y! What do we get? YUMMY FOOD!

Her show almost got cancelled

Back in 2014 there was a real fear that Rachael Ray’s talk show was about to be cancelled. Ratings were way down, and things were not looking bright for the chef’s daytime talk show. Amongst the problems that people were complaining about was the fact that she used to talk over guests and not let them get a word in edgewise. However, she was signed on for a few more years, and her show seems to have improved immensely.