Email At 40, Rachael Ray sits atop a multi-million dollar empire built by none other than Rachael Ray. It's not that she puts it that way.
And it's not that there isn't an army working for her these days. But the day time TV show , the cookbooks, the magazine are all built around one central idea: She is the brand -- a down to earth, upstate New York waitress who can teach anybody how to whip up a no-nonsense meal in a jiffy. She is a hard-working, funny and devoted to what she does. And for all her energy and drive, she is also surprisingly modest, saying emphatically she hasn't "reinvented the wheel. I'm not a rocket scientist.
I think I'm good at writing accessible, fun, and affordable meals for the average American family. That's what I think I'm good at. Her business, she said, is "built for a recession. So I think this is really a time for all of our team to shine. You know, food is such -- it's a hug for people. She was criticized by star chef Anthony Bourdain, who called Ray's role in commercials for the company "evil" and "like peddling crack to kids.
It's a free country. You drink a lot of coffee. You grew up on Dunkin' Donuts. Have a cup of Dunkin' Donuts on us. They've been very supportive of me. I don't regret a thing. Not for a minute. I especially enjoy a cider donut when I'm apple picking. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Ray's mother was furious, but Ray said she was proud. This magazine has as young as , year-olds in hottie bikinis, and these are all actresses, models, pin-up girls.
I don't belong to any even remote club of theirs. This is the everywoman, here she is,' she added. I'd do it again tomorrow. You're visiting with these people.
Not everybody's going to like it, just like not everybody likes everybody on the playground. I mean, that's life -- especially if your job is to just go out there and be yourself. I work for the people that want the type of food I write [about], the type of food we share with people.
She maintains that anyone could have done what she's done. Does she really believe that? Anyone that likes chatting, that likes to cook, certainly.
Could have happened to anybody. A syndicated daytime talk show, four hit food network shows, 16 bestselling cookbooks, a self-titled monthly magazine, and her own brands of dog food, olive oil, and even a line of pots and pans.
Part of her success is making cooking as easy as possible -- with short-cuts, including using chicken stock from a can and pasta sauce from a jar.
Ray says the success of the daytime show still delights her though it is vastly different with its live audience and celebrity guests than her Food Channel show, "Thirty Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. It certainly felt like a rocket ship ride to me. Ray worked in a food specialty store and thought maybe the reason people weren't buying the groceries is they didn't know how to cook with them.
She couldn't persuade local chefs to come in and do food demonstrations, so she herself started little in-store classes. The classes were such a success they led to appearances on the "Today" show, and then on the Food Network. Oprah Winfrey saw something special in her, and voila -- a new daytime star was born. When asked about her income she said she has "no idea" how much money she earns annually, but admitted "it makes me a little sick. It makes my stomach flip. I'm not comfortable with it People that make that kind of money -- it's just too foreign of an idea.
She said she's beer in the bottle, not champagne in a flute. And that's just the way she intends to stay. And if sometimes things break or drop or the pasta hits the wall when I'm draining it, they never stop tape. They just kind of let me go with it. And I get stains on my shirt -- oh well -- we keep shooting. It's not too perfect.