The Real Reason Rachael Ray Has ‘No Idea’ How Much She Makes Annually

TV personality and food connoisseur Rachael Ray has her name on just about everything. From cookware to cookbooks, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to her own magazine, Ray’s empire continues to grow. Still, the “hostess with the mostest” revealed she doesn’t know what she makes in a year — and has no desire to.

A look at Rachael Ray’s empire

Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray | Robin Marchant/Getty Images for NYCWFF

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Rachael Ray exemplifies hard work. Her various endeavors throughout the years have amassed the TV personality an impressive empire. This includes her daytime talk show, multiple other network shows (such as $40 a DayInside Dish, and Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels), over a dozen cookbooks, her own magazine, dog food, olive oil, and cookware.

As someone who worked her way up, Ray knows the importance of giving back. The food-lover created the nonprofit organization Yum-O! which educates families about good nutrition.

The Emmy-winning host is known for her upbeat, bubbly personality, and her meals are created with families in mind. Ray said in multiple interviews that she is “unqualified” with “no formal training” in the culinary world. But, she’s made a name for herself since Food Network discovered her cooking segment on Today in 2001.

Rachael Ray has ‘no idea’ what she makes in a year and for good reason

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Ray’s estimated net worth is around $60 million. But the star created a career based on catering to middle-class and low-income families. Her food, she told ABC News, is “built for a recession.”

“The magazine, the daytime show, we’ve always tried to write affordable, accessible recipes,” she said. “Those are keywords for us, and I do mean us, a huge staff of people at the magazine who love to cook affordable, friendly food that helps families eat better for less.”

At the time of the ABC News interview in 2009, Ray’s ventures earned her a reported $18 million per year It’s gone up from there. Still, Ray doesn’t want to know how much.

“It makes me a little sick. It makes my stomach flip,” she said. “I’m not comfortable with it because I don’t like to think of my life as that far away from me. People that make that kind of money — it’s just too foreign of an idea.”

Humble beginnings taught Ray about what matters

Ray’s reasons stem from humble beginnings when she didn’t have enough money for groceries.

“With a bill of like $60, I thought I’m going to have to be that lady that chooses between the toilet paper and the chicken breasts,” she said.

When the cameras aren’t rolling Ray lives like the rest of us and it shows when she films.

“When I do a 30-minute meal, for instance, on Food Network, that’s my food you see at the end of the show and it’s not perfect,” she said. “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.”

Ray may not know how much money she earns, but it’s another reason fans love her.

Ray’s inspiration comes from her roots

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For someone who works as much as Ray does, it’s a wonder where she gets her drive. She told ABC News it began with her mother.

“My mom worked in restaurants for 60 years, and what I learned from her is a lot. But if I had to boil it down, take your work very seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously,” she said.

“Work harder than everyone else and never complain about it. Don’t go to bed if you’re not proud of the product of your day; stay awake until you are. She never had a bedtime for us as kids. If we wanted to get up and do something productive — if we were drawing, or playing with an erector set and building a bridge or something, or we wanted to read — we could not be in bed. You could get out of bed and do that thing until you were exhausted.”

She continued: “My mom, and my grandfather, believe that you shouldn’t go to bed if you’re not physically or mentally tired each day, or you wasted your day. My grandfather taught me that there’s really only one choice in life. Life will be up; life will be down, but when it comes to you, you can laugh at it or you can cry at it, and laughing feels better than crying. Don’t feel sorry for yourself.”

Advice from Ray might be exactly what you need to hear today

Ray elaborated on her gratitude living in “the country of great opportunity” adding.

“If you work hard and you’re willing to take some risks, you really never know,” she added.

Even with all of her success, Ray emphasized where her priorities lie and how it contributed to her success.

“It’s important that you understand that goals should never be money, or fame, or a television show. A goal has to be something that’s more about your message as a contributor. What are you offering people with your job? That’s a tough thing for people to understand sometimes,” she said.

“People make decisions just based on who’s going to pay them the most, and I don’t think that’s a good strategy for life. You have to do what makes you happy and something that involves some larger purpose or message. I think that work that’s done just to be work is meaningless.”