According to Rachael Ray, she grew up in food. “My first vivid memory is watching my mom in a restaurant kitchen. She was flipping something with a spatula. I tried to copy her and ended up grilling my right thumb! I was three or four,” says Rachael, who insists that cooking is a way of life she was simply born into. “Everyone on both sides of my family cooks.”
Rachael has parlayed that birthright into a wildly successful career as a syndicated television star, an iconic Food Network television personality, best-selling cookbook author, Founder and Editorial Director of her own lifestyle magazine – Rachael Ray In Season – and Founder of the Rachael Ray Foundation.
Rachael’s hugely successful syndicated daytime program, Rachael Ray, launched in the fall of 2006. Showcasing Rachael’s warmth, energy and boundless curiosity, the show — produced by CBS Media Ventures in association with Harpo Productions, Discovery Inc., and Watch Entertainment — invites viewers to experience life the Rachael Ray way. Credited with getting America back in the kitchen with her easy approach to cooking, Rachael takes the same philosophy — finding simple solutions to everyday problems—beyond the kitchen and into all aspects of the show.
Growing up in a family steeped in culinary tradition, Rachael was exposed to a wide array of cooking techniques, learning lessons from her maternal grandfather who was raised in the traditions of Louisiana. The Ray family owned several restaurants in Cape Cod, Mass., before relocating to upstate New York, where her mother worked as the food supervisor for a restaurant chain. “I was surrounded by all different styles of cooking and worked in the food service industry in just about every capacity you can imagine,” Rachael says.
By her early twenties, Rachael developed a hankering for city life and moved to New York where she landed at Macy’s, working as the manager of the Fresh Foods Department. She credits her two years there for giving her an education in gourmet foods. After Macy's, Rachael helped open Agata & Valentina, the prestigious New York gourmet marketplace, where she became the store manager and buyer.
Despite the exciting lifestyle in the foodie circles of New York City, Rachael decided to move back to upstate New York and start managing pubs and restaurants at the famed Sagamore Resort on Lake George. From there, she was recruited by Cowan & Lobel, a large gourmet market in Albany, to be their food buyer and eventually their “chef.”
As a way to increase grocery sales during the holidays, Rachael created a series of cooking classes, including a course promising to teach “30-Minute Mediterranean Meals,” which exploded in popularity. The CBS station in Albany-Schenectady, WRGB-TV, discovered Rachael and signed her on to do a weekly “30-Minute Meals” segment for the evening news. Nominated for two regional Emmys® in its first year, the segment was a major success; a companion cookbook sold 10,000 copies locally during the holidays. With that, a franchise was born!
Rachael's television work grew to include a series of lifestyle and travel segments, as well as a long-term relationship with the Food Network, hosting shows such as Rachael Vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, Rachael Vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Worst Cooks in America, Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off, Rachael’s Vacations, Tasty Travels, $40 A Day, Inside Dish, A Week In A Day, 3 In The Bag, and 30-Minute Meals, the latter of which earned a 2006 Daytime Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Service Show” and a nomination for “Outstanding Service Show Host.”
In addition to her television endeavors, Rachael is a New York Times best-selling author with more than 20 cookbooks. Her newest book, “This Must Be the Place,” will be released this Fall.
Taking the can-do spirit of her television shows and books, Rachael launched a new lifestyle magazine in 2005 bearing her vision now called Rachael Ray In Season. With great food at its core, the magazine offers smart and easy recipes for every occasion as well as practical advice on travel and entertaining. In the magazine, Rachael takes readers around the country to meet people who love food—from celebrities and authentic artisans to great home cooks. In 2008, the magazine was named to Advertising Age’s “A-List” and in 2009 was named “Magazine of the Decade” by AdWeek. Today, Rachael Ray In Season continues to be at the top of both the epicurean and the lifestyle categories.
In the fall of 2006, Rachael launched the daily one-hour, nationally syndicated show Rachael Ray, which scored the highest-rated premiere for a syndicated talk show since the 2002 launch of Dr. Phil. It quickly secured its position among the top ranked daytime shows and was the No. 1 syndicated strip launched in the 2006-07 season. The daytime talker was immediately embraced by critics across the country. Time magazine wrote, “You can’t attract her kind of following by just being accessible. Ray, like Regis Philbin, is gifted at being on television.” Newsweek praised Rachael as being “the most down-to-earth TV star on the planet...” People Magazine named Rachael Ray one of the top 10 shows of 2006, and Forbes has included her on their “Most Trusted Celebrity” list.
Rachael Ray won the Outstanding Talk Show Emmy® in 2008, 2009 and 2019, and was nominated for the award in 2020. The show has scored eight nominations for the Best Talk Show Host Emmy® over the course of its run. The show also won the 2016 Daytime Emmy® for Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing. Adding to the list of achievements, TV Week named Rachael “Syndication Personality of the Year” in 2007. BusinessWeek honored her as one of the “Best Leaders of 2006.” In its freshman year, Rachael Ray won a 2007 Daytime Emmy® Award and was nominated for six others including Outstanding Talk Show and Outstanding Talk Show Host. In 2009, Rachael was honored with the American Woman in Radio & Television Tribute Award. Rachael was also named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “20 Power Players of Food Media” in 2019. In September 2021, the show will premiere its 16th season.
In the spring of 2007, Rachael launched a nonprofit organization, Yum-o!, that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.
By providing the tools to create easy, affordable and delicious meals, Yum-o! is changing the way America eats. Yum-o!'s three work areas include educating kids and their families about cooking, feeding hungry American kids and funding cooking education and scholarships.
Rachael has developed a line of super premium dog and cat food and treats called Rachael Ray Nutrish® along with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Through The Rachael Ray Foundation™ which was created for all of the forgotten animals — the ones who might not have someone who loves them as much as they deserve – Rachael has donated more than $56 million from the proceeds from the sale of Nutrish® to animals in need.
In April of 2014, Rachael received the honor of being named to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition by President Barack Obama. For more information about the Yum-o! organization, please visit www.yum-o.org.
In 2016, Rachael partnered with Legacy Classic and Craftmaster Furniture to channel her passion and aesthetic vision for design and interiors into the home furnishings category with the introduction of the Rachael Ray Home Collection.
“My life has been a total accident — a very happy, wonderful accident that I didn't and couldn't have planned,” says Rachael. Despite her growing celebrity she is determined to stay grounded and hold on to her down-to-earth values. She still spends as much time as she can at her cabin in the Adirondacks with her husband, John, her family — the “research team”— and her pit bull puppy, Bella Boo Blue.
Director of Publicity