She has authored a series of cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept. She will also host a syndicated TV talk show starting in 2006.
Ray's family owned a restaurant in Massachusetts and her mother managed restaurants in upstate New York. Rachael started at the candy counter at Macy's in New York, New York. She helped open Agata & Valentina, a New York City market. Moving upstate, she worked as buyer and chef at the Cowan & Lobel market in Albany, New York. With the success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, Albany TV station WRGB asked her to continue 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.Ray teaches simple recipes that she says can be prepared in thirty minutes or less. Like many cooks, she uses garlic and chicken stock as simple ways to boost flavors, and emphasizes using fresh herbs whenever possible. She says that measuring "takes away from the creative, hands-on process of cooking", and instead favors approximations such as "half a palmful" and "eyeball it". On her television programs she has popularized catchphrases such as "E.V.O.O... extra-virgin olive oil", "Yum-O!", "So delish!" and "How good is THAT?".
Her signature tool is the santoku chef's knife. She claims to dislike baking desserts and to be notorious for burning bread under the broiler. Ray says her late Sicilian maternal grandfather, Emmanuel Scuderi, served as a strong influence on her cooking. To critics of her shortcut techniques, Ray responds, "I have no formal anything. I'm completely unqualified for any job I've ever had."
Recipes from Ray's programs appear on the Food Network web site as well as in her books and magazine.Ray launched her own magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray in conjunction with Reader's Digest. The magazine premiered on October 25, 2005 and plans bi-monthly issues in 2006.