Season nine of Rachael Ray’s show kicks off next week and it’s going to be a doozy. The beloved domestic diva recently sat down with SheKnows to talk about cooking catastrophes, the first meal she ever cooked, the crazy things she’s eaten and much more.
The new season of The Rachael Ray Show will feature humanitarian efforts, health-oriented programming and even nudity in the form of a “Strip Chef” segment and Ray admits that all of her efforts are geared toward creating an atmosphere where everyone feels like they are hanging out with friends. While talking with Ray, SheKnows found that that the easygoing chef knows exactly how to do just that.
1. She likes to use her gift to give back
For season nine of her show, Ray has partnered with Share Our Strength and Feed America and made the commitment to feed nine million hungry Americans over the course of the season. “Since I make my living through food, it’s always been the way I chose to give back,” she said.
2. Vocal cord surgery six years ago led to an exercise epiphany
“I wasted a lot of my adult life not understanding the importance of exercising every day,” Ray admitted. After surgery to repair her vocal cords, Ray couldn’t speak for three months and turned to exercise to cope. “I started running out of frustration and it’s the best thing that every happened to me,” she said. “I go to the gym six days a week and it doesn’t matter to me whether or not you’re a size 0 or a size 6 or a size 26, but I do think it helps your mental well-being to try and keep a certain level of physical fitness.”
3. She has more energy than the Energizer Bunny
Ray says she usually shoots three episodes a day and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s fun! It’s really, really fun,” she exclaimed. “And it goes fairly fast. I’m up every day by six or so and I don’t get home until seven, but some days it feels like it’s over in a blink.”
4. She’s a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris’ Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ray says she is super excited for NPH to be on her show. “I just saw Hedwig, his second to last show. It was maybe the greatest live performance I’ve ever seen,” Ray gushed. “He was absolutely phenomenal. “It was amazing. Literally amazing.”
5. She specially caters her green room to every celeb on her show
“We are very proud of our green room production! We cater it to everyone’s needs and wants,” Ray said. “There is nothing we don’t like making for people.”
6. The first gourmet meal she ever made was for her mom at age 11
Ray may be able to perfectly prepare a full meal nowadays, but she admits she wasn’t always as adept. The first meal she ever prepared on her own was for her mother’s birthday and she remembers it perfectly. “Lasagna roll-ups with a spinach mushroom stuffing and a gorgonzola sauce,” she recalled. “And I made the fabulous wine pairing of making her a mimosa to go with it. Which makes me want to gag.”
7. She likes cooking with kids more than cooking with adults
“Children don’t have any rules,” Ray said of cooking with little protégés. “Once they get into cooking, their imagination just runs away with them and with the food.”
8. Her first day at The Food Network she hacked off her finger and glued it back on
Ray says cameras kept rolling after a painful mishap and her digit hasn’t really been the same since. “Now that finger is like a trick finger and at parties I can stick it in an open flame and make money on how long I can leave it there because I can’t really feel anything,” she revealed. “Yeah, it never fell off but it’s pretty dead.”
9. She’ll eat anything
“I’ve eaten anything on the planet,” Ray said. “I’ve had lots of bugs, crispy fried maggot, eyeballs, brains… all sorts of innards. There isn’t anything I won’t eat.”
10. She is constantly coming up with new recipes in her head
“I keep a notebook with me at all times,” Ray told SheKnows. “I must write recipes every single day of my life… I keep a notebook by my bed. It’s sort of like a musician… I like to virtual-cook in my head.”
This post is sponsored by ABC7 Los Angeles, where you can watch Rachael Ray Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. Check your local listings for airtime.