Rachael Ray on serving up success: "I'm a cook, not a chef"

Anybody "can be Rachael Ray," TV host says

Food Network star Rachael Ray would like you to know you should not trust her to make you coffee. "My coffee's horrible," she said on "CBS This Morning" Monday. "I think my husband rigs the machine so if he's out of town it will fail epically. It will overflow; it would be black as night and thick as sludge, or it will look more like urine than coffee, yellowish brown. I'm terrible at coffee!"

And that's not all: "I set toast on fire. Any time I ask my husband to bring home bread, he brings home extra."

But she is good at other foods, enough to lead to her latest cookbook, her 26th: "Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life – A Cookbook" (Ballantine Books).

Ray, who also runs her namesake magazine, hosts the award-winning "30 Minute Meals," and has her own annual music and food festival, says this latest book is very personal. "It wasn't just me writing recipes; it was looking back on 50 years and telling the story of how I got to be where I am today."

rachael-ray-50-cover-ballantine-244.jpg
Ballantine Books

She writes in the introduction that she is "a waitress in my heart and a cook in my soul."

And she reiterated: "I'm a cook, not a chef. I grew up in industrial kitchens. My mom was one of ten kids. Our family was always in the kitchen.

"I think that everybody should have to be a dishwasher. I think that everybody should learn how to take an order and serve people, you know? It's very humbling, and I think it's the luckiest thing that ever happened to me that I was born into that industry."

And she says there is no great mystery to being adept in the kitchen. "If you have an appetite, you can cook," she said. "Like, I have some friends that just literally like to eat to stay alive. So, if you don't enjoy food, no, you can't cook. But if you do enjoy food, yes. Anybody, absolutely anybody can learn to cook."

Her new book contains personal essays and 125 recipes.

Since Ray would not offer her pick for a last meal because she'd be too sad to eat it, "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King asked her what her first meal in heaven would be.

"It would be anchovy spaghetti with my grandpa, and butternut squash with my first dog, Boo," Ray replied.

"Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life – A Cookbook" by Rachael Ray (Ballantine Books), in Hardcover and eBook formats, available Tuesday, Oct. 15, via Amazon.

      
See also:

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.