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Rachael Ray: Snapshot

Name
Rachael Ray
Date of Birth
August 25, 1968
Birth Place
Cape Cod, Mass.
Rachael Ray, the no-holds-barred Food Network phenom, has taken the haute out of cuisine by making cooking fast, fun and informal. In just a handful of years, the wide-smiling cookbook author has made herself a household staple.

Raised in the restaurant business, Ray graduated to fame in 2001 when both the Today Show and the Food Network got a taste of her 30-minute cooking shows for an Albany, N.Y. TV station. The Food Network brought Ray's approach to food – sloppy, loud, accessible – to the national stage with her show, 30 Minute Meals. Ray's every-girl guide to cooking persona transformed into a multimillion dollar brand, with four hit Food Network shows, 12 million copies of her 13 bestselling cookbooks, a self-titled monthly magazine and an Emmy-winning daily talk show.

Rachael Ray: Video

Star Talk

The earthy kitchen diva sits down with PEOPLE to cook up her extra-personal answers – spiced with her trademark laugh and lots of heart. (02:29)

More Videos

Rachael Ray: Five Fun Facts

  1. One of Rachael Ray's signature phrases, "EVOO" (extra virgin olive oil) was added to the 2007 edition of the Oxford American Dictionary. Other Rayisms include: "Sammie" for sandwich and "Stoups" for stew-thick soups.
  2. Mayonnaise is the only ingredient Rachael Ray won't use because it creeps her out.
  3. "I have our entire relationship saved on my phone," Rachael Ray told PEOPLE in 2007 of her husband John Cusimano. "Sixteen messages between meeting and getting married. I resave them every 21 days."
  4. No facelifts for Rachael Ray: "If I had a week off I can assure you I wouldn't be under the knife, at least not for my brow," she told PEOPLE. "I'd get rid of my ass first. Not my brow."
  5. When asked by Entertainment Weekly about her most embarrassing Food Network moment, Rachael Ray said: "My first birthday at Food Network, I was taping, and they brought me out this big cake and I leaned in and I totally Michael Jackson'd myself. I set both sides of my hair on fire. At the same time. With my own birthday candles. I am a train wreck."

Rachael Ray: Biography

1980s

Rachael Ray

Out of the Frying Pan

In 1968, Elsa Scuderi, a longtime restaurant manager, and James, a retired book publisher, welcome daughter Rachael, whose first word is "vino." "I was a food snob by age 7," Ray tells the Miami Herald in 2006. With her two siblings, Ray grows up in restaurants from Cape Cod, Mass., to upstate New York. "I went to the school of Mama!" the former Lake George High School cheerleader adds. "My mother didn't like strangers watching her children, so we were all in the restaurants."

1997

The Turning Gunpoint

While working at a specialty grocery store in Manhattan, Ray is mugged in her Queens apartment. "This kid comes in behind me – next thing I know he shoves my face up against the door, jams a gun into my back and says, 'Give me your bag,'" she tells PEOPLE in 2007. She maces him, but he returns the following weekend: "He dragged me down the alley and beat the crap out of me with his gun." Ray realizes New York isn't for her, and within a week moves back upstate.

1998

Rachael Ray

Fast Food to Fame

While working at a gourmet store in Albany, N.Y., Ray notices that the prepared food sells well, while basic groceries don't. She comes up with the idea for local chefs to teach 30-minute cooking classes to boost sales, but they don't bite. Ray decides to teach the classes herself, and a local TV station puts her on-air. Ray's fast food leads to a bestselling book (left) and a 2001 guest spot cooking on the Today Show.

Read More on Rachael Ray's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: KingWorld

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy of Rachael Ray; amazon.com

Edited by Julia Wang

Rachael Ray

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