People in the News: Rachael Ray | Level 8 | By Little Fox

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[Series Introduction]

Young newscasters Ben and Olivia introduce well-known people from around the world. These “people in the news” have accomplished extraordinary things in science, sports, music, business, politics, and more!


OLIVIA: Welcome back to People in the News, Little Fox readers. I hope you like food because we're going to be talking about cooking today! Isn't that right, Ben?

BEN: It sure is, Olivia. Today's person in the news is Rachael Ray, a very successful and popular American cook, businesswoman, and TV personality.
Rachael Ray was born on August 25, 1968, and grew up near Lake George, New York, a resort town with lots of hotels and restaurants. Rachael's mom worked in the food industry around Lake George, managing a chain of restaurants. Since Rachael's mom often brought her kids to work, Rachael spent lots of time in busy kitchens, both in restaurants and at home, helping her own family prepare meals. In fact, one of Rachael's earliest memories is of trying to imitate her mother flipping food with a spatula—and then burning her own thumb on a hot stove!
Another important influence on Rachael during her childhood was her grandfather Emmanuel. An emigrant from the Italian island of Sicily, Emmanuel loved to cook, frequently preparing things like fresh fish and pasta made with vegetables from his garden. He also introduced Rachael to many different and unusual foods. Later she joked that her lunchbox used to scare away other kids in the school cafeteria. That was because she packed it with the strong-smelling foods her grandfather had taught her to love, like sardines, calamari, and garlic!
After high school Rachael worked in several different food stores, learning more about cooking with gourmet ingredients and sharing her knowledge with the customers. Soon she realized something very important: lots of people wanted to cook with gourmet ingredients or try new recipes; they simply didn’t have enough time. So in 1996 she started teaching a class called "30-Minute Meals" to help busy home cooks. The class was so popular that it soon caught the attention of a local TV station. Before long Rachael was filming short cooking segments on TV. In 1998 she published her first cookbook of recipes that could be prepared in just thirty minutes.
Rachael's big break came in 2001 when she had a chance to cook on a national news program during a huge snowstorm. Because the bad weather had stranded lots of people at home that day, millions were watching when Rachael prepared several hearty soups.
This successful TV appearance quickly led to Rachael's getting her own cooking show. And within just a few years, hard-working Rachael transformed herself into a food industry, with a magazine, travel shows, food products, and her own line of cookware. She even invented a new type of cooking pot—it was oval-shaped, which made it much easier to cook long sticks of spaghetti!
Rachael's cookbooks continued to be bestsellers, and her shows were incredibly popular, breaking records and winning important awards in the TV industry. By 2006 she was so influential, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 people who were shaping the world.

OLIVIA: Wow. It sounds like Rachael soared to success. But what exactly made her so popular with people?

BEN: That's a good question, Olivia. As Rachael's success grew, lots of people were asking the same thing—especially professionally trained chefs whose products and shows weren't nearly as popular as Rachael's. Some chefs even began publicly criticizing her, saying that she had no formal training and had never attended a cooking institute, so she was not a legitimate authority on food.
. . .

[Little Fox Introduction]

Little Fox is an award-winning library of leveled stories and songs. We create animated stories and songs to help kids to learn English easily as a second language (ESL). Visit our website, www.littlefox.com, to learn more about our unique curriculum and our thousands of digital resources.


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