We recently caught up with culinary queen Rachael Ray at this year's New York City Wine and Food Festival, where she was hosting the eighth annual Blue Moon Burger Bash. The event, which gives 40-plus renowned U.S. chefs the chance to compete for the best burger, featured both classic and inventive interpretations of the patty – among the most popular were Black Tap's juicy kobe beef rendition and The Ainsworth's Mac n' Cheese Burger. The cookbook author and TV personality took a burger break to give us the scoop on her kitchen must-haves and food philosophy.
Last meal on earth: What would it be?
My friend Melanie Dunea, a wonderful photographer, did a book, My Last Supper ($32; amazon.com). I would be so depressed I wouldn’t want to eat anything, but if I could have the first meal on the other side, I would visit my first dog Boo—she liked butternut squash—and I would be with my grandfather, who loved anchovies and sardines, so we would eat garlic and olive oil and sardine or anchovy spaghetti.
Favorite kitchen gadget?
I’m not a believer in gadgets. I’m a believer in keeping your knives sharp. I’m a believer in a garbage bowl so you can put all of your scraps and waste in one place, and you deal with it when you’re done cooking. I’m a big believer in a large cutting board—even if you have no counter space, put it over your sink and you have a new counter. And I’m a believer in as good a quality of pot as you can afford. Those are my gadgets.
I made it into the English dictionary with the acronym for extra virgin olive oil—EVOO. So I guess I would have to say olive oil.
What you’ll be sipping this fall?
My husband is a wonderful mixologist and he’s in charge of all beverages. I love every rendition he does of the Blood Mary, he makes amazing margaritas, he makes fantastic champagne cocktails. I’m an equal opportunity drinker—an EOD—so whatever he’s making, from mulled cider to apple spiked martinis, I guess it will be that.