Rachael Ray Defends Donuts, Racy Pics

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(March 2) - It's been more than five years since Rachael Ray posed in next to nothing for men's mag FHM, and despite negative feedback from fans and even her mother, the TV cook says she'd "do it again tomorrow" if given the chance.
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Rachael on Nightline'

    "It was the most scared I've ever been," Rachael Ray tells 'Nightline' about her racy photo shoot for lad mag, FHM. "I wouldn't change a thing. I'd do it again tomorrow."

    Getty Images

    She also doesn't regret taking the job of Dunkin' Donuts spokesperson. "They came to me and they said, 'We want to make healthier food for America. You drink a lot of coffee. You grew up on Dunkin' Donuts. Have a cup of Dunkin' Donuts on us' ... They've been very supportive of me. I don't regret a thing. Not for a minute."

    Dunkin' Donuts / AP

    The down-to-earth Ray has built a multi-million dollar since rising to fame on the Food Network, with TV shows, magazines and cookbooks all bearing her name. But don't call her a chef.

    PRNewsFoto / Ainsworth Pet Nutrition

    "I'm not a chef," she said. "I haven't created any new technique in the kitchen. I'm not a rocket scientist. I think I'm good at writing accessible, fun, and affordable meals for the average American family. That's what I think I'm good at."

    Getty Images

    Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano.

    Getty Images

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In a wide-ranging interview with ABC's 'Nightline,' airing Monday, the perky Ray talks at length about being on the receiving end of nonstop public scrutiny in recent years, for her cooking style, her role as a donuts-and-coffee spokesperson and of course those racy shots.
"I think I was 35 at the time," she said about the FHM experience. "And I thought about it for a while, and I said, 'You know what? This magazine has as young as 17-, 18-year-olds in hottie bikinis, and these are all actresses, models, pin-up girls. I don't belong to any even remote club of theirs."
"And I thought, 'If I'm gutsy enough to do this, this is a good thing for everybody. This is the everywoman, here she is,'" she added. "And I did it, and it was the most scared I've ever been, and I wouldn't change a thing. I'd do it again tomorrow."
The host of 'Rachael Ray' and '30 Minute Meals' has also taken one on the chin for her endorsement deal with Dunkin' Donuts, and though she admits it "wasn't the greatest thing for my PR," the 40-year-old star doesn't regret her decision.
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Rachael Ray Snapshots

    In this image released by The Rachael Ray Show, host Rachael Ray poses with Tom Selleck, right, during the taping of "The Rachael Ray Show" in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. The program will air on Friday, Feb. 27. (AP Photo/The Rachael Ray Show, David M. Russell) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY **

    AP

    In this image released by The Rachael Ray Show, host Rachael Ray talks with Tom Selleck, left, during the taping of "The Rachael Ray Show" in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. The program will air on Friday, Feb. 27. (AP Photo/The Rachael Ray Show, David M. Russell) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY **

    AP

    Rachael Ray, left, cooks with host Jimmy Fallon on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (Virginia Sherwood/NBC/MCT)

    MCT

    ** FILE ** In this March 15, 2008 file photo, Rachael Ray hosts a SXSW Music Festival day party in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett, file)

    AP

    In this image released by The Rachael Ray Show, host Rachael Ray, right, poses with actress and singer Hilary Duff during the taping of "The Rachael Ray Show" in New York on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. The program will air on Tuesday, Feb. 24. (AP Photo/The Rachael Ray Show, David M. Russell) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY **

    AP

    In this image released by The Rachael Ray Show, host Rachael Ray, right, talks with actress and singer Hilary Duff during the taping of "The Rachael Ray Show" in New York on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. The program will air on Tuesday, Feb. 24. (AP Photo/The Rachael Ray Show, David M. Russell) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY **

    AP

    Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray appears onstage with Guy Fieri (not pictured) at the 2009 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 21, 2009 in South Beach, Florida. 2009 South Beach Wine And Food Festival South Beach, FL United States February 21, 2009 Photo by Logan Fazio/FilmMagic.com To license this image (56817729), contact FilmMagic.com

    Logan Fazio/FilmMagic.com

    Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray appears onstage with Guy Fieri (not pictured) at the 2009 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 21, 2009 in South Beach, Florida. 2009 South Beach Wine And Food Festival South Beach, FL United States February 21, 2009 Photo by Logan Fazio/FilmMagic.com To license this image (56817734), contact FilmMagic.com

    Logan Fazio/FilmMagic.com

    SOUTH BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Husband John Cusimano and television personality Rachael Ray attend the 2009 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village on February 21, 2009 in South Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Cusimano;Rachael Ray

    Getty Images

    SOUTH BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Husband John Cusimano and television personality Rachael Ray attend the 2009 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village on February 21, 2009 in South Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Cusimano;Rachael Ray

    Getty Images

"They came to me and they said, 'We want to make healthier food for America. You drink a lot of coffee. You grew up on Dunkin' Donuts. Have a cup of Dunkin' Donuts on us.' They gave their support and their money to [Ray's children's charity] Yum-o. They've been very supportive of me. I don't regret a thing. Not for a minute."
Ray calls herself an "all-things-in-moderation kind of person" and enjoys the occasional "warm donut," saying "I don't think there's anything wrong with that."
Many of her fellow TV foodies don't feel the same way about the DD. Anthony Bourdain called Ray's role in commercials for the company "evil" and "like peddling crack to kids." (Ray has taken the high road, only saying "I absolutely love Tony Bourdain"). Gordon Ramsay took a dig at Ray last October in a discussion with the New York Times. When asked what drove him to be a celebrity chef, he replied "It?s not greed or TV or stick your ass to the window to endorse Dunkin? Donuts."
The down-to-earth Ray has built a multi-million dollar since rising to fame on the Food Network, with TV shows, magazines and cookbooks all bearing her name. But don't call her a chef.
"I'm not a chef," she said. "I haven't created any new technique in the kitchen. I'm not a rocket scientist. I think I'm good at writing accessible, fun, and affordable meals for the average American family. That's what I think I'm good at."
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2009-03-02 13:52:20