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Food Network star Rachael Ray started working in restaurants at a young age. With her mom in the hospitality industry, the Food Network star followed in the family business in every capacity from bus boy to waitress. Ray gave details on one job in particular that proved to be especially grueling, yet taught her “invaluable life skills”. 

Chef Rachael Ray onstage during a culinary demonstration at the Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring Culinary Demonstrations at The IKEA Kitchen presented by Capital One
Rachael Ray | John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Rachael Ray recommends ‘DMO’ requirement in education system

In in her book, Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life, Ray explained how her mother managed several restaurants and often had her children take jobs at the establishments that were under her supervision. Learning several tasks that made a restaurant run efficiently, Ray noted that holding down one job in particular could teach a multitude of valuable lessons.

“If I were in charge of our country, working in restaurants would be a compulsory part of our education,” she wrote. “And every participant would begin training as a DMO — Dish Machine Operator.”

While some may think washing dishes is a simple process, Ray detailed how the undervalued position provides experience in a host of professional fields.

“Here they would learn invaluable life skills, beyond the ability to wash dishes and scrub pots,” the talk show host shared. “Humility, patience, physical and mental endurance, organizational and spatial relationship skills, public relations, and a unique ability to clean disgusting things while controlling your gag reflex.”

Food Network star gives details on dishwasher job

Ray gave a vivid picture of the day in the life of a dish machine operator, which comes across as a challenging position.

“The dish machine area ran about 20 degrees above the air temperature and was always 100 percent humidity,” the 30 Minute Meals star wrote. “To work there felt like six-hour shifts in a wet hell. The thermometer that hung on the wall usually read well over 100 degrees.”

Dealing with copious amounts of half-eaten meals, Ray’s stint as a DMO opened her eyes to how much food is wasted in restaurants.

“Hour after hour, buckets and trays of dishware and glasses and mountains of silverware just kept coming, pouring over you,” she recalled. “Thousands of dollars of half-eaten eggs, pancakes, clam rolls, fried fish, hot dogs, and hamburgers — whatever happened to making kids clean their plates?”

Rachael Ray was ‘grateful’ for her restaurant experiences

Ray revealed that the DMO designation also left her with a pungent aroma of “wet rotten eggs and old milk.” Still, the television personality gained confidence after every work day.

“I know this sounds really hard to believe,” she wrote. “I was grateful and at the end of the day, each day, I was proud of myself — I took out garbage, cleared thousands of plates, cleaned bathrooms, carried boxes and buckets and racks of dishes and glasses till my legs swelled and my back ached.”


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Apparently, Ray’s bubbly personality and upbeat demeanor started at a young age, where she kept a positive attitude throughout all the hard labor.

“I tried to keep a smile on my face while I did all of that,” she shared. “To this day, conquering hard work and managing stressful situations are what bring me peace.”