by Nimali Fernando
December 2012


Today I had the honor of interviewing Rachael Ray, the popular cooking personality first made famous by her TV show “30 Minute Meals.” She also is a host of her own Daytime Emmy winning television show, author of almost two dozen cookbooks and her popular magazine “Every Day with Rachael Ray.” Her business empire is impressive, but more impressive is her list of charity work including one project close to my heart, Yum-O. This nonprofit organization was started by Rachael Ray with a mission of empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food. Furthermore, I believe that she has helped families across America deliver healthy, home-cooked meals to the table by making cooking seem easy and approachable.

As a pediatrician now beginning the challenge of starting a nonprofit which hopes to battle the Childhood Obesity epidemic by teaching families to cook and eat healthier, I was excited to hear Rachael Ray’s thoughts about her nonprofit work. I was also excited to hear her thoughts about cooking with kids. Rachael Ray was in town to promote her book My Year in Meals, a unique cookbook which reads like a journal of the food and cocktails that she and her husband personally prepared and ate over the course of a year. However, when I showed up with  her kids cookbook “Yum-O!” to autograph, she was exited to see that I had purchased it.

Rachael Ray: Thanks for purchasing my book Yum-O! You know, all the proceeds go to my charity, Yum-O!

Dr. Yum: Yes, I know! I would like to talk to you about your nonprofit and what you are doing with it.

Rachael Ray: Yes, we have many arms of our nonprofit. One is to educate families about cooking and give people tools and resources to get started in the kitchen. The other is to help eradicate hunger. The third is to fund cooking education and scholarships for public school children.

Dr. Yum: Any advice for a nonprofit like the Doctor Yum Project that is just starting out?

Rachael Ray: You have to make healthy food sound as cool as the unhealthy food. Come up with cool catchy names for good food that uses whole grains and lots of veggies. Make it fun! Get kids involved with cooking. It will build their self-worth.

Dr. Yum:What advice do you have for parents trying to feed their kids healthy food at the end of a busy day?

Rachel Ray: Get the prep work done ahead of time! Prep vegetables ahead of time. Use bagged salad. Get kids involved and helping.

Dr. Yum: How important do you think it is for parents to cook with their their kids?

Rachael Ray: ESSENTIAL!! Cooking with kids is empowering. It makes them feel important and gives them self-esteem!

To learn more about Rachael Ray’s nonprofit visit

To learn about The Doctor Yum Project, a nonprofit started this year in the Fredericksburg area visit Our mission is to reduce the rates of Childhood Obesity and Diet-related illness by partnering with families to raise children who eat a whole food diet.