Ray, Rachael 1968- (Rachael Domenica Ray)
Ray, Rachael 1968- (Rachael Domenica Ray)
Born August 25, 1968, in Cape Cod, MA; daughter of John Claude Ray (a restaurateur) and Elsie Scuderi (a restaurant manager); married John Cusimano (an attorney), September 24, 2005. Education: Attended college.
Macy's Marketplace, New York, NY, began at candy counter, became fresh-foods manager, 1990s; Cowan & Lobel (market), Albany, NY, food buyer and chef, 1990s; Sagamore Resort, Lake George, NY, manager of pub and restaurant, 1990s; Agata & Valentina (gourmet market), New York, NY, store manager and buyer, 1990s; host of weekly television cooking show, 30 Minute Meals, in Albany, NY, 1990s; Food Network, host of 30 Minute Meals, 2002—, $40 a Day, 2002—, Inside Dish with Rachael Ray, 2004—, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels, 2005—; Every Day with Rachael Ray (magazine), editor-in-chief, 2005—; The Rachael Ray Show (syndicated television program), host, 2006—.
Television guest appearances include Pyramid, 2003, The Tony Danza Show, 2004, 2005, Live with Regis and Kelly, 2004, 2005, Good Day Live, 2004, and The View, 2005.
Named "One of the 100 Sexiest Women," FHM magazine (U.S. edition), 2004; Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding service show, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for 30-Minute Meals, 2006.
30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Easy Entertaining, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Comfort Foods: Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Veggie Meals: Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Rachael Ray: 30-Minute Meals 2, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Get Togethers: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Cooking 'round the Clock: Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Cooking Rocks!: 30-Minute Meals for Kids, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2004.
$40 a Day: Best Eats in Town (travel guide), Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Comfort Food: Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2005.
365, No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners, Clarkson Potter Publishers (New York, NY), 2005.
Guy Food: Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Kid Food: Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2005.
30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy without Going to Extremes, Clarkson Potter Publishers (New York, NY), 2005.
Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook, Lake Isle Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals, Clarkson Potter Publishers (New York, NY), 2006.
2,4,6,8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds, Clarkson Potter Publishers (New York, NY), 2006.
Cookbook author and television chef Rachael Ray grew up in upstate New York, where her family owned several restaurants. The family business, combined with her combination of Italian and Cajun/Creole roots, influenced Ray's early interest in the food business. She began working in retail as a teenager, eventually becoming a manager and buyer for various gourmet food stores. From there she branched out to work as an in-store demonstration chef, soon garnering her own local television cooking show that eventually went national. In 2002 Ray joined the Food Network, hosting the show 30 Minute Meals, which features her quick and easy meals designed to be prepared within thirty minutes. The popularity of the show led to Ray hosting the travel show $40 a Day, in which she travels to a new town in each episode and spends only forty dollars per day on food. Her tips on how to find eateries where the locals eat, and how to keep your food bill to a minimum, won her new viewers. Ray's programs are marked by her vivacious, energetic personality, and her tendency to shorten commonly used terms, such as her use of E.V.O.O. for extra virgin olive oil, and "sammies" to refer to sandwiches. Ray also preaches that cooking is accessible to everyone, and that food does not have to be complicated to be tasty. Ray herself admits to having never attended a traditional cooking school. In an interview with the New York Times she remarked: "I have no formal anything.… I'm completely unqualified for any job I've ever had."
Ray's cookbooks rely on her theme of easy to prepare meals that can be completed within thirty minutes. Some offer general compilations of recipes from her programs, while others are organized around a theme. 365, No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners offers home chefs an assortment of recipes designed to get them through a year of cooking without risking the boredom inherent in cooking the same familiar dishes time and time again. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked: "This assortment of quick meals is expansive enough to encourage even novices to wing it." With 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy without Going to Extremes, Ray guides cooks through simple, healthy meals that do not require many ingredients or unusual items that might require a trip to the market. A critic for Publishers Weekly wrote: "Ray's standard chatty demeanor, which comes through loud and clear, coupled with interesting, varied recipes, make this book a winner." Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals also considers the needs of a home cook with a busy schedule, offering suggestions on what ingredients to keep on hand in the kitchen to make easy, fast meals much simpler to prepare, and even divides recipes into categories based on the energy level of the preparer. In a review for Salon.com, Mary Elizabeth Williams encapsulates Ray's message: "Suck it up, she's saying. If I can do it, you can to it. Take one lousy half-hour and get a hot meal together, for yourself and for your family. A real meal, preferably the kind with some lean meat and fresh vegetables. No expensive equipment or specialty store ingredients; no fancy French terms or techniques. No excuses."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advertising Age, October 23, 2006, Karen J. Bannan, "Ray's Energy Spills Over as Advertisers Buy in on the Fun," p. S10.
Brandweek, October 9, 2006, Sonia Reyes, "Faster Than a Ray of Light: She Smiles, She Cooks—She Even Writes Books!," p. M28.
Broadcasting & Cable, September 18, 2006, Ben Grossman, "First Peek at Rachael Ray," p. 15.
Business Week, December 18, 2006, "Disciples of the Simpler Life," p. 71.
Entertainment Weekly, October 20, 2006, Dan Snierson, "Stupid Questions," p. 90.
Hollywood Reporter, September 19, 2006, Ray Richmond, review of The Rachael Ray Show, p. 24.
Library Journal, November 15, 2005, Judith Sutton, review of 365, No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners, p. 90; April 5, 2006, Judith Sutton, review of Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals, p. 106.
Newsweek, September 12, 2005, Marc Peyser, "The Grill Next Door: Folksy Rachael Ray Whips Up Love—and Loathing," p. 72.
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 27, 2006, David Hiltbrand, "Into the Blender of Life, TV's Perky Rachael Ray Throws Everything"; November 8, 2006, Karen Heller, "Rachael Ray, Like Fast Food, Pleases Crowd."
Publishers Weekly, March 14, 2005, review of Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy without Going to Extremes, p. 62; October 17, 2005, review of 365, No Repeats, p. 64.
Redbook, July, 2005, "60 Seconds with Rachael Ray: Food Network's Traveling Foodie Shares Ideas for Meals That Are Easy to Prepare, Pack, and Tote on Summer Day Trips," p. 36; October, 2006, Holly Taylor, "Rachael Ray Can't Stop Talking," p. 60.
Shape, October, 2006, "Rachael Ray's Recipe for Success," p. 32.
TelevisionWeek, January 30, 2006, Christopher Lisotta, "Rachael Ray," p. 21.
Boston Globe Online,http://www.boston.com/ (November 26, 2006), Rob Walker, "Hatred of Rachael Ray Can Be a Powerful Uniting Force."
Food Network Web site,http://www.foodnetwork.com/ (January 22, 2007), author biography.
Internet Movie Database Web site,http://www.imdb.com/ (January 22, 2007), author biography.
New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (October 19, 2005), Kim Severson, "Being Rachael Ray: How Cool Is That?"
Rachael Ray Home Page,http://www.rachaelraymag.com (January 22, 2007).
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (October 14, 2006), Mary Elizabeth Williams, "Rachael Ray, My Dinner Hooker."
Slate,http://www.slate.com/ (July 13, 2005), Jill Hunter Pellettieri, "Rachael Ray: Why Food Snobs Should Quit Picking on Her."
Time Online,http://www.time.com/ (April 30, 2006), Mario Batali, "Rachael Ray: Turning Up the Heat at Home."