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She dishes up great gossip on her daytime talk show, and even better food on TV and in her new cookbook, Week in a Day, but there’s still lots you don’t know about this Food Network megastar. Get the inside scoop on fun facts she shared during her Grand Tasting demo at the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
1. She’s a burger fanatic. “Meat for dinner is my favorite. I’m a burger-obsessed person. I love burger night — I love ground meat of any kind!” she says.
2. She loves a man who cleans. The way to her heart isn’t through food — it’s through washing dishes. “A man in the kitchen is very sexy,” she says. “Gentlemen: Get your butt behind the sink and you will be dessert!”
3. She’s very picky about eggs. Although eating on a budget is important to her, eggs are “one of those grocery items worth paying a premium for,” she says. She prefers Araucana (a South American breed of chicken that produces small, bluish-green eggs), though she recommends any type of cage-free egg from a small farm.
4. She doesn’t like fancy kitchen tools. “I’m not a big gadget person,” she says. In fact, her top kitchen staple is a large cutting board, which she lays over her sink to create extra counter space. Other picks: her Vitamix, an immersion blender and a Microplane — which is particularly “brilliant” in her book.
5. She wears makeup only for work. She’s all makeup and blown-out hair for the cameras, but it’s a different story at home. “The second I’m inside my front door, I wash my face and put my hair in a ponytail. My entire wardrobe consists of flannel pajamas and [New York] Jets slippers,” she says.
6. She has a thing for old-school celebs. Her first (and biggest) celebrity crush was Tom Jones. Talk about a dream come true: She had the chance to meet — and feed — him on The Rachael Ray Show. “I really love feeding people that I’d never think in a million years I’d get to meet,” she says.
7. She’s a dark-meat person. She’d take bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs over chicken breast any day. “I prefer it because you can’t screw it up,” she says. “It’s always affordable and always tasty.”
8. She’s a commitment person. When asked, she keeps her relationship advice short, simple and to the point: “Once you go through all four seasons together, you gotta put a ring on it!” she says with a laugh.
9. She designs for small spaces. Living in Manhattan for years taught her to get savvy about space — something that continues to inform her design choices. She designed her oval-shaped baking sets with cramped quarters in mind. “You can turn [the sister set of pans] sideways and they’ll both fit in your oven,” she says. “I did that because I’ve always had small kitchens.”
10. She’d pick family over fame any day. When asked about her ultimate dinner guests, she nixed Hollywood actors and famous musicians. In fact, one of them wouldn’t even be human: She’d love to have dinner with her first dog, Boo, and her grandfather. “If there is a heaven, that’s who I’d be partying with,” she says. “My grandpa would want spaghetti with a lot of sardines or anchovies and Boo would want butternut squash.”