NEW YORK – Are you a wannabe celebrity chef, the most inventive cook on the block? And, most important, do your culinary skills go way beyond the ability to boil water?
If you've answered "yes" to all the above, then Rachael Ray may be looking for you. The syndicated talk-show host is launching "So You Think You Can Cook?" -- a nationwide search for an enterprising foodie.
"We just want to give a person -- a real person, not a chef or somebody specially trained to do this for a living -- a shot at showing everybody their personality and how much fun you can have with food," Ray, 39, said in a telephone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.
Ray and her producers will narrow the field of candidates to five promising cooks, who will undergo two weeks of intense competitions and challenges before a winner is announced on the air in late November.
"I'm always telling people how my career was an accident," Ray told the AP. "I just wanted to sort of marry up the idea for the show that anybody who likes to cook could literally be Rachael Ray, the `30 Minute Meal' girl."
Ray is host of the popular Food Network program "30 Minute Meals."
The winner of the contest will co-host the "Rachael Ray" show for a day and receive training at a U.S. culinary institute. An original recipe will be published in Ray's lifestyle magazine, Every Day
Contest rules are posted on Ray's Web site, http://www.rachaelray.com. The deadline for entries is Oct. 3.