Rachael Domenica Scuderi-Ray was born in Glens Falls, New York in 1968, and today she’s one of the most famous culinary personalities in America, hosting her own daytime talk show as well as several programs on Food Network. She’s also won three Daytime Emmy Awards, the People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Chef, and in 2006 was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in America. But while Ray seems to be everywhere you look these days, we bet that there are still a few things you likely don’t know about her.
She’s Published 22 Books
Ray has written 22 cookbooks since 1999, from her first, 30 Minute Meals, to her most recent, 2012’s My Year in Meals.
She was Savagely Attacked in Her 20s
After moving to New York in her early 20s, she lived in Queens and worked at a specialty store on the Upper East Side called Agata & Valentina. According to Allen Salkin’s From Scratch, one night when she was 27 she fended off a mugger with pepper spray, but he returned a couple weeks later, dragged her to a dark corner, and began beating her with a gun. He ran off when a local dog approached, but Ray was so badly shaken that she left New York and didn’t move back for several years.
“30 Minute Meals” Started as a Class
While working at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet shop in Albany, she noticed that some items weren’t selling. She suggested bringing in chefs to teach a class on how to cook a meal in only, as the store promised, “30 minutes or less” (a spin on Domino’s promise to deliver in 30 minutes or less). When hiring chefs became cost-prohibitive, Ray took over the classes herself.
Learn more about Rachael Ray's fascinating life story.
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