March 1, 2021
Rachael Domenica Ray was born in Glens Falls, New York, the daughter of Elsa Providenza Scuderi and James Claude Ray. Her mother’s ancestry is Sicilian and her father’s is French, Scottish, and Welsh.
When Ray was 8, her family moved to Lake George, New York. Her mother managed restaurants in New York’s Capital District, including the Lake George Howard Johnson’s restaurant, located near the former Gaslight Village amusement park, which attracted many of the entertainers. In 1995, Ray moved to New York City. She worked first at the Macy’s Marketplace candy counter
Growing up in a family steeped in culinary tradition, Rachael was exposed to a wide range of cooking techniques, from her maternal grandfather who grew and cooked everything his family of 12 ate, to her dad’s family, which embraced the food-rich traditions of Louisiana. The Ray family owned several restaurants on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, before relocating to upstate New York, where her mother worked as the food supervisor for a restaurant chain. “I was surrounded by all different styles of cooking and worked in the food service industry in just about every capacity you can imagine,” Rachael says.