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Television personality Rachael Ray has become a household name thanks to several factors in her business empire including her Food Network stardom, popular talk show, and lifestyle brand. Ray is known for her down-to-earth persona and accessible recipes, as well as her very unique-sounding vocals.

Rachael Ray | John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Latest book

Ray has a plethora of cookbooks to her name. Her most recent collection of stories and recipes entitled “Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life – A Cookbook” was released in October, and includes some personal stories from the talk show host. “It wasn’t just me writing recipes; it was looking back on 50 years and telling the story of how I got to be where I am today,” Ray said, according to CBS News.

The Food Network star has always credited the strong influence of her family for her love of food and cooking, which started at a very young age. “I grew up in industrial kitchens,” she said. “My mom was one of ten kids. Our family was always in the kitchen.”

Before her book hit the stands, Ray posted the cover on Instagram to share her excitement with her followers. “ONE WEEK until memories, meals and notebook scribbles from my life hit the shelves as #RR50 🥰🎉” she captioned the post. “It’s my hope that this book leaves the home cook with delicious inspiration, and the reader with that quiet smile we all get after we eat our favorite comfort food. Basically I’m going for the afterglow of a BIG bowl of spaghetti.”

Don’t call her a chef

Ray has always called herself “a cook, not a chef.” Sharing in her book stories of working in kitchens for years, the culinary guru remains humble about her talents. “I’m a waitress in my heart and a cook in my soul,” she said.

When Food Network came calling, Ray stayed true to herself and won them over with her authenticity. “When I went to the Food Network I outed myself,” she told Vanity Fair in 2007. “I said, ‘Listen, you’re champagne, I’m beer out of the bottle. I clearly don’t belong here, I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.’ And I got up. And they said, ‘No, no, no, stop. That’s what we like. We don’t want you to be a chef.'”

According to Mashable, Ray has no formal culinary training, even admitting that she can’t make coffee or toast. She tends to use the ‘eyeball method’ when measuring and keeps her cooking style very informal, qualities that have attracted a huge fan base. Whether it’s on air or at home, Ray prefers to keep things casual.

“Even if I’ve cooked for cameras or in an industrial kitchen for 12 hours in a day, I’d rather go home and cook in my pjs and slippers than dine at any fine restaurant,” she said, according to Mediaite. “I’m lucky to work at what I love most: food, drink and conversation.”

The rasp

Ray’s distinct husky voice is actually the result of a childhood illness. According to Vanity Fair, the Food Network personality suffered from bouts of croup when she was a child. The viral infection would cause severe coughing fits which did permanent damage to her throat, hence Ray’s current trademark rasp. 

Her baritone is just a part of her earthy charm. Ray’s relatability has made her one of today’s top celebrities in the culinary space and she emanates that through her cuisine. “My food, I have certain rules about it. It has to be something you can get in a grocery store. No special equipment,” she said. “And I won’t allow the books to be pricier than a music CD. Because they’re collections of everything that I do on-air, and I just feel you shouldn’t be paying more than you would for a popular song. I consider my food the equivalent of a pop song.”

No wonder why Ray is so popular!