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Celebrity Chef Holds Book Signing at Wegmans

Food Network celebrity chef Rachael Ray appeared to hundreds of excited fans at the Wegmans on Sunday, December 9. The appearance comes as part of a seven-city tour for her new book entitled, My Year in Meals. Co-authored with her husband, John Cusimano, the book highlights 365 easy-to-prepare meals and 100 cocktails. The inspiration behind her latest book was to share the dishes that she prepares at home for her family and friends.

ray-jonesRachael Ray and FredParent editor Chris Jones"My friend Andrew Kaplan came over for supper and took pictures of the pizzas I was making and said that I should make that for other people. [The book] then became a side project my husband and I started and took to my publisher and we went with it," said Ray.

My Year in Meals includes Ray's favorite recipes each with an assigned date from January 1 through December 31. Handwritten notes throughout the text give the book a personal touch and allow the reader to enjoy more of the chef's casual voice.

Ray's claim to fame revolves around her simplistic approach to meal preparation and execution. Every recipe is aimed to take just 30 minutes to prepare.

"At the time [when we came up with the 30 minute approach], Dominos was delivering pizza in 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, they had a few accidents and they had to stop. I was working at the time and my customers weren't buying from the market I worked for. So I was asked to teach a cooking class for food that only took 30 minutes or less thinking people would be more inspired to make dinner in that amount of time," recalled Ray.

Thirty minutes turned out to be the tipping point and Ray's career reached escape velocity. It's become the number synonymous with her success.

"I feel like I've won the lottery every day." She said flashing her signature smile, red Sharpie stroking the pages of another book. "I love my job."

Ray counts her mother and her grandfather, "a stone mason a good cook" among her culinary influences. She also cites Julia Child, the Galloping Gourmet and her friends at Food Network. She hopes that her books can inspire others and encourage more at home cooking among families and circles of friends.

"I would like [my book] to be casual and passed around so people will make [the recipes] their own and add and take out whatever they like," Ray said.

ray-dr-yumRachel Ray and Nimali Fernando, aka Doctor YumBonus: Read Dr. Yum's interview with Rachael Ray to learn about Yum-O, Rachael's Nonprofit that helps parents and children develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.

Chris Jones is the editor of Fredericksburg Parent and Family magazine. He experimented often in his grandmother's kitchen as a boy, nearly burning it down on one occasion.

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