I was an early fan of Rachael Ray, then went through Rachael Ray burnout, but I have to say I really love the answer she gave to a question in an AV Club interview. Anthony Bourdain, who I really enjoy, used to use Rachael Ray as the personification of the dumbing-down of Food Network (the way I use Guy Fieri). Bourdain eventually shifted most of his wrath to Sandra Lee. Anyway:
AVC: There are people out there like Anthony Bourdain who do criticize that kind of “everyday cook” philosophy that’s on the food networks. But when I talked to Bourdain he said he can’t make fun of you anymore because you sent him a gift basket.
RR: Nah, he’s funny. I didn’t mind a bit either way. He’s also said a few nice things over the years. But you know what? Not everybody is supposed to like everybody on the playground. You gotta be thick-skinned about that. I love Tony Bourdain. I love his books, I love him, I love his attitude. I think he’s fantastic. Whether or not he likes what I’m doing that week in my life, or the food that I’m making at that moment, that’s Tony’s choice. It shouldn’t affect my decision about whether or not I like his work. Otherwise I think I’m being immature and mixing up the two. But regardless, that’s not my job and it’s not who I work for. I work for the people who do want that type of programming or do want to cook my type of food.
But I think that people over the years have wasted so much time asking me about Martha [Stewart] or Tony and all this. I’m like, it’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever entered my mind for five seconds if somebody else wasn’t putting it there.
I mean, those aren’t the people you work for. I am a waitress at heart. I work for the people that I’m there to serve …. I think that anyone who spends their life trying to make other people happy or impress their peers rather than their customers are going to have a very short-lived career.
Not bad advice.