I Worked on the Rachael Ray Show for 16 Years—These Were My Favorite Recipes (2024)

A career in television is sparkly. It's the kind of job that people know about before you walk into a room. "Oh yea, I've heard your name before, you're the girl who works for Rachael Ray! What's she like?!" preceded me for the better part of the last 16 years.

Yep, that's me, Jeanette, often referred to as Rach's resident toast maker (she always burned the bread, so I could often be seen on the show running through her kitchen delivering her perfectly toasted buns) or the watermelon queen (every summer for the better part of 10 years or so, I carved a watermelon into a fun creature on the show).

Rachael Ray Shares Her Favorite Pantry Dinner, and You'll Want to Make It on Repeat

And people always asked, "What is Rachael like?" She is freaking amazing. Generous, prolific, smart, sharp, creative, inspiring, supportive. I've always said she's on this earth doing exactly what she was meant to be doing; sharing her talents, tips, palpable smiles and delicious food with the masses—and I was lucky enough to have a daily front-row seat to it.

I Worked on the Rachael Ray Show for 16 Years—These Were My Favorite Recipes (1)

I started with the show as an intern in 2007, as a biology major who lived in a Manhattan apartment across the street from the old studio. (Spoiler alert, this biologist never made it to grad school.) A classmate was in the final weeks of her internship and encouraged me to apply, given my love for all things food and fast-paced fun. I got the gig and never looked back.

I did a lot of different jobs in my tenure there. I started as an intern and left 16 years later an Emmy-award-winning producer. From procuring lint from dryers across the city's laundromats for a segment about laundry, to pulling together recipes on the fly in the walk-in fridge with Chef Jacques Pépin, to calming the nerves of both unknown and very well-known guests who were about to cook their recipes standing next to the Rachael Ray, to being a guest on the show with my own recipes … I wore a lot of hats.

That was the best part of the job; every day was different. I met incredible guests and worked with some of my best friends who, as cliché as it sounds, have become members of my family. And, together, we changed the way people viewed food and made some fantastic television.

If I Learned One Thing from Watching Rachael Ray, It's Always Have a Scraps Bowl—and Hers Is the Best

Although I never made it to grad school, I consider myself to have a master's degree from the school of RR. Turns out working alongside Culinary Institute of America-trained chefs, an über-talented host and world-renowned chefs on the daily both on set and in the prep kitchen is the quickest and best way to learn how to cook, make food look pretty and eat well too.

As you can imagine, we ate a lot (like … a lot, a lot) of great food. From family-meal lunches to leftovers behind the scenes, we got to experience it all. Here are my favorite seven recipes that I ate while working on the show. All of these are in my repertoire, as are many others, but, sometimes you have to pick your favorite child (or in this case, children), right?!

1. Rach's Buffalo Chicken Chili

Had to start with the greatest of all time, Rach's Buffalo Chicken Chili. I think this recipe broke our website a number of times. Anything we aired with "Buffalo" in the title always did. (We once did an entire Thanksgiving meal that was Buffalo- and ranch-inspired, but that's a story for another day.) This one makes my list because it, in my opinion, is the epitome of a recipe that was our bread and butter; it's simple, it's delicious, it's quick and it's BUFFALO. I don't particularly care about football, but I religiously make this on Sundays in the fall. I always double- or triple-batch it because it's a great dish to have in the freezer for another night when you can't figure out what to cook.

2. Curtis Stone's Orange Bostock

One of the best parts of the job was getting to work with anyone who came by to cook. Chef Curtis Stone was such a dear friend to the show and our team. Every single recipe he presented hit the mark. As he spent seasons being a co-host, we luckily got to see quite a lot of him. Curtis made this recipe for a Mother's Day episode. I had never heard of bostock before; I would say it's somewhere in the middle of an almond croissant and French toast. Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious and perfect for hosting brunch.

3. Rach's Chipotle Sweet Potato & Chorizo Quesadillas

This recipe was just a normal "what's for dinner tonight" as we called them, but something about the combination of chipotle-lime sweet potatoes and chorizo all mashed together into a quesadilla makes this recipe a 10. I particularly remember this being made on one of those very busy show days (we used to film three full episodes in one day), and I hadn't eaten for hours. One of my teammates saved me a piece, and I've been making them on steady rotation ever since.

4. Rach's Pretzel-Crusted Chicken

Another Rach recipe that is in the greatest-of-all-time category. I'm not sure why no one thought about coating chicken tenders in crushed-up pretzels before, but I'm glad she did. I can vividly remember her teaching Jessica Simpson how to whisk cheese into the dipping sauce in a figure 8. For some reason I make it every New Year's Eve, I don't know why, but I don't question it. It works for any occasion, really.

5. Scott Conant's Cranberry Campari Compote

Bookmark this one for Thanksgiving. Scotty was a good friend of the show (my former boss Emily went to culinary school with him, so we all adopted the nickname Scotty). The team was always buzzing when the chef and Chopped judge came around. This compote is a blend of two of my favorite things, Thanksgiving and a negroni. It's a flawless recipe, and your holiday guests will buzz for it too.

6. Rach's Sticky Chicken Tray Bake

Part of our job was to know what was going on with food trends. Did I mention we were putting food in a waffle maker decades before all the cool kids were doing it on TikTok? Tray bakes came on the scene, and now I'm wondering how we ever lived without them. Much like the term "Buffalo," tray bakes would also rate very well for us. This tray bake is the one I make most at home. Rach's sticky chicken glaze is a recipe from a few years ago, but recently she revamped it to be a tray bake and it's as simple as it is delicious.

7. Katie Lee Biegel's Logan County Hamburgers

Rach literally wrote The Book of Burger, so a burger had to make the list. In my years eating cheeseburgers between segments, there were many highlights. But I had to get this particular burger on my list because it's not your classic burger—it's a patty melt. There were a lot of firsts for me during my time at the show, and this segment was my very first patty melt! Katie is the best—down to earth, kind and always quick with a great kitchen tip. The kinda gal who swings by and knocks your socks off with a patty melt. She even once won Rachael's Burger Bash event at the NYC Wine and Food Festival with this exact recipe.

The Rachael Ray Show filmed its last episode in March. The crazy part about spending almost 16 years of your life at one job is that a lot happens. My team and I have seen each other through some of the worst days and some of the best days of our lives. In that time, I moved in with my boyfriend, got engaged to the boyfriend, got married and had two beautiful children. I still don't quite understand what my life will look like without the Rachael Ray Show as my home base. The friendships will be there forever. And when I'm missing my time there, I'm grateful to forever have the smells, flavors and tastes of the place that will always feel like home.

I Worked on the Rachael Ray Show for 16 Years—These Were My Favorite Recipes (2024)


Why did Rachael Ray show get Cancelled? ›

Her decision to end her long-running show was timed with the launch of her new production company, Free Food Studios. She told Deadline, "My passions have evolved from the talk show format production and syndication model to a platform unencumbered by the traditional rules of distribution. …

Does the audience get to eat on the Rachael Ray Show? ›

Show guests do not get a sample of the food Rachael is cooking, the closest the audience gets is its delicious aroma. The audience should expect to do a lot of clapping, smiling and making approving sounding cooing noises when the food is involved, but not much else. Eat breakfast before you come.

What type of food does Rachael Ray focus on? ›

Rachael Ray's Cooking Experience

Ray owes some of her gastronomic appreciation to her Italian genealogy, and regularly defers to classic Italian family dishes as part of her 30-Minute Meals format.

Do they eat the food on cooking shows? ›

While leftover food from cooking shows can often be given to the rest of the crew to eat, hygiene protocols don't always allow that when a judge or cook has already eaten some, or when dishes have been sitting out too long during filming.

Does anyone eat the food from cooking shows? ›

Food waste is dealt with differently depending on the show, but it is usually donated, eaten by the crew, or thrown out.

Did ABC cancel Rachael Ray show? ›

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray said goodbye to her long-running daytime talk show on Wednesday. The final episode of the "Rachael Ray Show" aired Wednesday after 17 seasons.

What does Rachael Ray sister do? ›

Did Rachael Ray go to college or culinary school? ›

Celebrity chefs such as Ina Garten, Gordon Ramsay, and Rachael Ray didn't go to culinary school. Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, rose to celebrity chef status through her food blog.

What do they do with leftover food on cooking shows? ›

The food was gone in 5 minutes…. Originally Answered: What is done with the extra food made in cooking shows like Master Chef? Unused ingredients are donated to food banks, but not until they're like a week from expiration. Cooked food that isn't eaten by the judges is usually given to the production staff.

What caused Rachael Ray's weight gain? ›

Also, the fact that food consumed a central role in her life could be to blame. She was even going through menopause in her late 40s. This could have caused hormonal changes in her body, potentially leading to overeating and weight gain (1). However, Rachael Ray's weight loss process started after her throat surgery.

What food does Rachel Ray not like? ›

Rachael Ray hates mayo, she will make an aioli or Aquafaba, because it's chickpea-based. Think about it, there's eggs in mayonnaise and that it's sitting on a hot shelf for months and months, that's her viewpoint. Martha Stewart and Alton Brown hate truffle oil.

When did Rachael Ray come out? ›

The show, Rachael Ray, premiered on September 18, 2006, and aired until May 24, 2023. Recurrent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show were used to fuel the launch, much as Dr.

What happens to the food they make on cooking shows? ›

Food on a cooking show like Top Chef, etc. is typically cooked and served in a very short time frame, so it is often left to waste. Many of the food items that are used on these shows are either thrown away or given to charity.

What do they do with the food on the kitchen? ›

As it turns out, there are tons of altruistic and creative methods for distributing leftovers on cooking shows, from feeding crew and staff to donating to food banks.

Do contestants on cooking shows get recipes? ›

It's up to each contestant to memorise any recipes they hope to use on the show, as well as spend any spare time practising new techniques and dishes as the competition progresses. "We can't take recipes," Mupedzi tells Refinery29 Australia. "I did a lot of studying and a lot of practising."

What happens to the food cooked on America's Test Kitchen? ›

We've been composting in the test kitchen since January of 2019. Currently, we work with Agri-Cycle, a Maine-based food-waste collection service that breaks down the organic matter with enzymes and converts it into renewable energy.

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