Thursday, August 11, 2005
She's The Real Deal
Food Network's Rachael Ray
When you tune in to the Food Network Channel you can see her several times a day, perhaps on her 30-Minute Meals program where she'll instruct you on how to make a full-course dinner and a dessert in a half hour or less. Then later on, you can watch her as she travels to some of the world's most exciting vacation spots on a food budget of under $40 A Day. She's perky, she's funny, she's adorable…and she praises her own cooking, for which she has every right to do so. Her recipes are easy to follow, using ingredients that simply take only one or two syllables to pronounce. In short, Rachael Ray is one of the most down-to-earth and easily likeable chefs (that's right…she most certainly IS a chef) on television today. So why is it, that some other chefs feel that she should be shot for her approaches to showcasing her craft, and others just simply seem to hate her, devoting entire blogs to the effect as pointed out in this Slate Online article back in July?
A person of "experience" when it comes to food, you ask? You better believe Rachael Ray is. She was born into a family of restaurant owners, one of them located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her earliest memories being the ones of watching her busy mother at work in the kitchen. Years later, when it was time for her to branch out into her own career, she started at Macy's Marketplace in New York City, first at the candy counter and then as the manager of the fresh foods department. After Macy's, Ray helped to open Agata & Valentina, the prestigious New York gourmet marketplace, where she was the store manager and buyer. Leaving NYC, Rachel moved to the Adirondacks in upstate New York, where she managed pubs and restaurants at the famed Sagamore resort on Lake George, and was then recruited by Cowan & Lobel, a large gourmet market in Albany, to be its food buyer. She turned the job into dual positions as food buyer and chef. As a way to increase grocery sales during the holidays, Rachael began a series of cooking classes.
The "30 Minute Meals" classes became so popular that the local media sent a feature reporter to cover the phenomenon, and the following week, an Albany TV station asked Rachael to do a weekly "30 Minute Meals" segment for the evening news. Nominated for two regional Emmys, the show was a major success: A companion cookbook sold 10,000 copies locally. Rachael's TV work grew to include a series of travel segments following the same theme of living a rich life without having to be wealthy. And of course, today Rachel continues this -- on Food Network's 30 Minute Meals and $40 a Day programs.
So no, Rachael Ray is not some little cutesy bimbetta who just happened to wake up one day and decided to go down to the Food Network Channel and say, "Hey, I wanna do one of those cooking shows, so like, um...can you guys hook me up, or what?" And yes, here again comes the age-old truism which states: Those who can do, will certainly do—while those who can't will certainly do nothing more than criticize.
Think it's that easy to have two cooking showcases (or even one) on the Food Network Channel? I say go and try it. A few months back when the competition for The Next Food Network Star was broadcast, I think we all got a chance to see -- that it's not.
Good Thursday, all. Peace.