Spotlight on World Famous Chefs: Rachael Ray, The Can-Do Chef

by Olivia Tacelli
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 8, 2011

The Rachael Ray WayRachael Ray is the like your favorite down-to-earth foodie friend, but with all the fame and fortune of a Hollywood icon. Her relaxed charisma and buoyant enthusiasm for yummy, inexpensive, and easy food have made her a hugely successful syndicated television star. Also a best-selling author of a dozen cookbooks and founder of the Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, Ray modestly describes her life as a "happy accident."

Rachael Ray: Born to Cook

Submerged in cooking and restaurant work through her family from birth, Ray saw virtually all aspects of food service by the age of 20. After moving to upstate New York from Cape Cod, Ray ventured to New York City where working as food manager at Macy's then store manager and buyer at Agata and Valentina, developed her knowledge of gourmet foods.

Unswayed by the glamour of the urban culinary arts life, she moved back upstate and became the chef at a gourmet market, Cowan & Lobel. To increase sales, Ray taught her 30-Minute Mediterranean Meals classes that were so popular, the CBS Albany TV station decided to air them. Two regional Emmy's and 10,000 local book sales later, Ray's career had taken off.

On Her Way to the World Famous Chefs' Club

Since then, Ray's reputation as a bright, creative, and high-energy chef with enormous charm and a remarkably accessible personality, continues to earn Emmy awards and high praise from the likes of Forbes, Time, and Newsweek Magazines. For Rach, as she's affectionately referred to, it's all about being someone her audience can relate to, as in, "If Rachael Ray can do it, then so can I." Not a traditional
top chef culinary school graduate, her can-do popularity lies in the fact that she makes fast, easy, and inexpensive food, and shows her "messes as well as her successes."

In addition to feeding hungry children in American, her organization Yum-O! teaches families about cooking and donates money for cooking education. Somehow in the midst of her full boil life, Ray cooks dinner every night for her husband John, who "will eat anything I put in front of him." With no plans on taking it easy any time soon, Ray's philosophy on having a very full life is "You can slow down when you're dead."


About the Author

Olivia Tacelli is a freelance writer specializing in all things culinary. She has been a chef and caterer for 18 years, and has run her own whole foods cooking business, The Olive Tree, for 8 years.

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