Rachael Domenica Ray (born August 25, 1968 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts) is an Emmy-nominated television variety celebrity chef and author who currently (2006) hosts four programs on cable television's Food Network: 30 Minute Meals, $40 a Day, Inside Dish, and Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels. She has authored a series of cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept. She will also host a syndicated TV talk show starting in 2006.
On her television programs, she has popularized catchphrases such as "E.V.O.O." (extra-virgin olive oil), "Yum-O!", "So delish!", "G.B." (garbage bowl)," and "How good is THAT?". Her signature tool is the santoku chef's knife. She claims to dislike baking desserts and to be notorious for burning bread under the broiler. Ray says her late 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's family owned a restaurant in Massachusetts and her mother managed restaurants in upstate New York. Rachael started at the candy counter at Macy's in New York City. She helped open Agata & Valentina, a New York City market. Moving upstate, she worked as buyer and chef at the Cowan & Lobel market in Albany, New York. With the success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, Schenectady, NY TV station WRGB 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.
Ray owns a cabin in Lake Luzerne, New York and a more recently acquired multilevel apartment in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Ray married John Cusimano, a lawyer and member of the band The Cringe, on September 24, 2005 in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. Her dog was a pit bull named Boo, but she died in 2005 and Ray dedicated an episode of 30 Minute Meals to her. Now Ray owns a pit bull named Isaboo. Ray said in an interview, "I do 200 sit-ups every day, and I do 100 pushups too. Man pushups."
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 lad mag FHM.
In late 2005, Ray signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey and King World Productions to host a syndicated daytime TV talk show in fall 2006. Recurrent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show will be used to fuel the launch. The show will film 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."
In addition to Oprah, Ray has appeared on The View, The Today Show, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
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.
- Rachael is 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
- Her new show will feature a game called "interpretive dance charades" that she invented at her bachelorette party.
- She attended Lake George High School in Lake George, New York, as mentioned on an episode of $40 a Day.
- Ray used to attend Pace University in New York City before moving back in with her family in the Adirondacks, in Upstate New York, due to personal family issues.
- Emeril Lagasse once described her as "The most sexiest woman on television."
- Her nickname around the food network studios is "Ray-Ray."