She created a media empire built of talk shows, magazines and an endless number of recipes, but is Rachael Ray really as nice and bubbly as she appears on TV? Fans say yes, but critics claim otherwise. Here’s a taste of the many image-busting scandals the tabloids have cooked up about Ray.
She’s been called a terrible tipper
As part of her Food Network show $40 a Day, Ray spent a lot of airtime visiting eateries. Having a made a living in the food industry, you’d think she’d be eager to give back to struggling waiters and waitresses. Not so, according to some critics who’ve labeled her a notoriously cheap tipper, reportedly leaving waitstaff a paltry 10 percent gratuity.
Interestingly enough, Ray starred in a Food Network program in 2014 called The Big Tip: Serving Up Big Tips, which scoured the country looking for waiters and waitresses that deserve a “life-changing tip” for their work. On the first episode, Ray and co-star Rossi Morreale reportedly give a single mom a $10,000 tip.
She’s been accused of devious politics
Although Ray has served up seemingly bipartisan recipes in her programs and publications, even crafting clever burger creations for three presidential candidates in 2016, she has also been accused of manipulating her menus to sway voters toward a particular candidate. In 2008, TMZ tore apart Ray’s election night cooking guide, uncovering a so-called “devious, grassy knoll-like plot that could decide the presidency.”
TMZ noted that in Ray’s magazine spread, the actual recipes seemed neutral, with titles such as “Campaign Trail Mix” and “Bipartisan Salad,” but the photos accompanying the dishes were allegedly laid out in favor of Democratic candidate Barack Obama over Republican candidate John McCain. In the photo spread, TMZ pointed out three instances where Obama and McCain buttons or stickers are arranged in a dining display, but in all three photos, the Obama image is clear, while the McCain image is either partially obstructed from view or blurry.
Also in 2008, Ray found herself engulfed by a controversial Dunkin’ Donuts ad. Some suggested the chef was supporting terrorism because she was wearing a black and white scarf that looked like a traditional Arab headdress. The brand said no political symbolism was intended. Ray leading a double life as a terrorist? That seems far-fetched, but the commercial was pulled off the air for good measure.