When it comes to Rachael Ray, it seems the olive didn’t fall far from the tree at all.
That’s because, like mom Elsa, the 51-year-old has also made a living — an impressive one, at that — in food, having built quite the brand over the past two decades. So, what advice has the beloved TV cook taken to heart from the 85-year-old Sicilian who passed down a love off all things culinary? Some pretty tasty tidbits, actually.
“My mom worked in restaurants for 60 years, and has imparted to me several encyclopedias of advice — far more than I have compiled in this new book,” Rachael exclusively told Closer Weekly. “But the pieces that I try to fold into my daily life [are] take your work very seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”
View this post on Instagram
Happy July 18 Club! My mom Elsa was born 84 years ago today & if she’s an indication, this is one helluva club to belong to. These were a few of her favorite things: Artichokes w/ lemon tarragon vinaigrette caponata (sweet n spicy eggplant, celery, peppers, onions, garlic, olives, chili + basil); pistachios on top of green tomato salad w/ green chilies, mint, cucumber, lime + EVOO; ‘Nduja ricotta eggs w/ crispy pepperoni; fried zucchini sticks from the garden w/ garlic, Parm, ground red chili + fennel breadcrumbs w/ tomato basil sauce dipper (made with sun-dried tomato paste); grilled chicken & grapes w/ aged balsamic, garlic, worcestershire, soy, EVOO, black pepper, & red seedless grapes; corn w/ garlic, butter, parsley + Parm; yellow watermelon; lemon meringue pie (thank you, Maria!); and cottage pudding w/ warm lemon sauce (thank you again, Maria).
Elsa’s advice doesn’t stop there, though.
“Work harder than everyone else and never complain about it,” Rachael — whose new book Rachael Ray: 50 Memories and Meals From a Sweet and Savory Life comes out October 15 — added. “And that there is really only one choice in life — you can laugh at it or you can cry at it, and laughing feels better than crying.”
As for what’s next for Rachael — who has been married to husband John M. Cusimano since September 24, 2005 — admits that she isn’t sure what’s next for her.
View this post on Instagram
John and I make sense. We don’t care when we eat, we care that we eat together. And we’ve been together, this John and this Rachael, every day since the day we met. And that’s something. It’s a lot. And some days, it’s everything. I love you, @johnmcusimano. In Spinal Tap lingo, you turn me up to 11. 💛 Happy Anniversary
“I get asked all the time what my plan was. How did I map this all out? How did I build an empire?” Rachael dished. “You know what? I never planned any of this. I just don’t plan too far ahead. I know what my job is today — I have a book coming out and that the daytime show is in its 14th season and that I’m going back on Food Network for more 30 Minute Meals and that you can taste my food via Uber Eats.”
With all of this going on, you might expect Rachael to be in the driver’s seat of what happens next — but, as it turns out, she reveals that her fans actually help decide that.
“I just focus on making those things great for our customers who, at the end of the day, are the boss of me,” Rachael concluded. “They will tell me what they like and what they don’t and we will adjust based on their feedback. The fans of our brand are the ones writing the plan and my life has come out better, so far, than I ever imagined.”
Reporting by Diana Cooper