The reigning queen of the kitchen
Rachael Ray was born in 1968 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Ray was raised in a family full of cooks and restaurateurs, so food has always played a major role in her life. Ray’s first job was behind the candy counter at "Macy's" in New York City. She quickly ascended to manager of fresh foods. She then assisted in the opening of the hip New York City gourmet marker "Agata & Valentina," where she served as a manager and a buyer.
Next up for Ray was a move to upstate New York. She worked as a manager in a pub and restaurant. She then returned to her previous employment as a buyer for a market (this time in Albany, New York). Over this time, Ray developed the "30 minute meals" philosophy that she would later turn into an Emmy Award winning Food Network television program.
In the Media
Ray’s career in the media spotlight began with a series of classes she taught in which she showed students how to make simple but tasty meals in fewer than 30 minutes. These classes were a big success, and she was soon asked to speak on her local CBS television affiliate in upstate New York. At this time, she also began speaking on radio and published her first book entitled (perhaps not surprisingly) 30 Minute Meals, which was published in 1999. This led to a guest spot on the "Today Show," and eventually the Food Network came calling.
"30 Minute Meals," the first of four Food Network shows to feature Ray, debuted in 2001. Since then, she has starred in "$40 a Day", "Inside Dish", and "Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels." In 2005, Rachael signed a contract that would take her beyond the world of food. A series of appearances on Oprah Winfrey were used to launch Ray’s daytime talk show, called simply "Rachael Ray."
Ray launched her own magazine, called "Every Day with Rachael Ray," in 2005.
Over the years, Ray has appeared on a number of talk shows, including The View, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Larry King Live.
Ray has often been criticized for her perky personality, which some have called "ditzy." She advises viewers of her cooking shows to not bother with measuring ingredients, claiming that it hinders the creative aspect of cooking. On her television shows, she has coined a number of catchphrases, including "yum-o," "so delish" and "how good is that!"
Some of Ray’s harshest critics have claimed that she has little interest in food other than as an avenue to fame, and point out her lack of a formal culinary arts education. She also received a minor backlash when she decided to pose in a series of somewhat provocative pictures for the men’s magazine "FHM."