Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri are pretty used to working as a team. The duo has worked together on quite a few Food Network shows. They return for the second season of their family-oriented show, "Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cookoff." The series pits two teams of kids against each other, each coached by one of the titular chefs, with the prize being a cooking web series of their own. Since it's a competition between the two chefs, we thought we'd get each of their takes on the show and working with each other.
On why she's doing the show
The kids initiative I have spends a third of its money on scholarships, a third of its money on eradicating hunger, and a third of its money on lowering obesity rates, and I think that kids getting excited about cooking improves all of those areas. I think that a show like this is really important. ... To get kids exciting other kids about cooking and being in a kitchen and caring about where their food comes from and feeding themselves and their loved ones is an important thing.
On the impact of knowing how to cook
It improves the quality of your life, whether you’re going to be president or a chef, being able to provide for yourself and cook for yourself gives you a great sense of self-esteem, self-awareness. It gives you a sense of peace if you’re broke to know you can take a couple of bucks into the store and you’re not going to go hungry. You can go home with a couple fo root vegetables and beans and you’re going to be OK.
On being a young cook herself
The first meal I ever prepared by myself was for my mom’s birthday. I was 11 or 12. But I was always in a kitchen with my grandfather, with my mom in restauratnts. We would go to work with my mom. My mom worked in restaurants for 50 years and I was always in a kitchen. But I think the first meal I prepared by myself, I think I was 11, and it was my mom’s birthday and I made lasagna rollups with spinach and mushrooms and a Gorgonzola wine sauce and I made the fabulous wine pairing of a mimosa. (laughs)
On her co-star
I describe Guy very appropriately as my 12-year-old friend who’s always getting me in trouble with my mom. ... We love hanging out and eating together and pulling pranks on each other. He’s much better at getting them over on me than I am at getting them over on him. He scares me within an inch of my life at least three or four times per run. Like, I mean, literally, I think some murderer’s going to stab me. I feel like I’m in the movie "Scream" half the time with Guy.
TV ADVICE FROM RACHAEL RAY
While people may be used to taking Ray's advice on cooking, she's also a bit of a pop culture aficianado. She confesses to watching a lot of "Columbo" growing up, but says her favorite show airing currently is "An Honorable Woman," Sundance's miniseries about an Israeli woman in England navigating the geopolitical affairs of her home country and her adopted country. "It's so good! It's great," enthuses Ray. Of the constantly shifting allegiances and untrustworthy characters, none of whom seem exactly like the good guy, she says "That's what's fabulous! Everybody sucks." Catch it tonight at 10 p.m. on Sundance.
On why he's working on the show
We have childhood diabetes, we have childhood obesity. These are not things that we’re supposed to be having our kids experience. Our kids are supposed to be experiencing how do I get my ball from over the neighbor’s yard, how to change a bike tire – these are the things kids are supposed to be going through. And so this opportunity for families and kids to recognize that kids can actually participate in cooking in the kitchen, kids as young as 8 and 9 years old, and the parents can get that revelation of wait a second, we cook dinner every night, why don’t I have my child helping me? They can learn to use a knife, they can learn how the stove works, so it’s so much about education.
On his co-star
I think Rachael’s pretty transparent on a lot of things. She’s a very smart businesswoman. She’s probably one of the most giving people that you ever know. She’s incredibly genersous, just takes care of everybody, but she’s a fierce competitor. Rachael and I are best friends, I have an incredible relationship with her, but the gloves are off. I mean, when it’s go time, it’s go time and again we’re both there for the common theme, which is to educate these kids and to make a great show, and to put it together, but we’re not sitting there playing patty cake.
On why the media loves to hate him
I couldn’t even tell you. I think it’s just people are bored and looking for something to talk about. Everybody’s under critique for something, and those that are doing the critiquing, I don’t know what their motivation is, but it’s not something I even worry about.
On the Guy Fieri "look"
You know, the signature look was never really intentional. It’s just kind of what was first seen on TV. I’ve had everything from long hair to black hair to short hair, you name it.
Can’t really mix it all up right now because we’ve got a lot going on with a lot of shows, and some consistency is needed, but we’ll have this conversation in five years and you’ll probably see me in dreadlocks.