Chef Rachael Ray burst on to  the cooking scene back in 1999 with her innovative cookbook, 30-Minute Meals. It was a breath of fresh air and was soon flying off the shelves. It wasn’t long before TV came knocking on her door, offering her a spot on the country’s biggest food network.

Since then, she’s published nearly thirty best-selling cookbooks, fronts a whole host of successful shows and runs a business empire worth millions of dollars. So how did it all happen? Let’s take a look at twenty surprising milestones and fascinating facts that made her the woman she is today.

An Early Passion For Food

Rachael Ray was born on August 25th 1968 in the town of Glen Falls, New York. Her parents, James Claude Ray and Elsa Providenza Scuderi, were of French and Italian descent. From an early age, they instilled a love of food in their daughter that would one day set her on a course to cookery super-stardom.