Rachael Domenica Ray (born August 25, 1968) is an American television personality, chef and author. She hosts the syndicated talk and lifestyle program Rachael Ray and three Food Network series, 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. Ray wrote cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept, and launched a magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, in 2006.
She was born in Glens Falls, New York, to Elsa Scuderi, an Italian (Sicilian) American and James Ray, who is of French, Scottish and Welsh descent. Ray grew up in Lake George, New York. Her family owned a restaurant on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, called the Carvery, and her mother managed restaurants in upstate New York.
Her first job was at the candy counter at Macy's in New York City, where she eventually managed the fresh foods department. She later helped open a New York City market. Moving back to upstate New York, Ray managed Mister Brown's Pub at The Sagamore, a hotel on Lake George. From there, she became a buyer at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in Albany. Ray credits the concept of 30 Minute Meals to her experience working at the store, where she met people who were reluctant to cook. She taught a course in which she showed how to make meals in less than thirty minutes. With the success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, WRGB (the local CBS TV affiliate) asked her to appear in a weekly segment on their newscasts. This, along with a public radio appearance and the publication of her first book, led to a Today show spot and her first Food Network contract in 2001.