Kelly the Culinarian: Celebrity encounter: Rachael Ray!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Celebrity encounter: Rachael Ray!

I'm close to exhaustion after a busy day, but I just had to talk about my encounter with Rachael Ray! She did a book signing today in Oak Brook and Chicago. I chose to take a shot at getting tickets for the Oak Brook appearance because it was later in the day and I had a ton of things to get done today during the day.

I got up at 4:30 a.m. to leave my house and get there at 7 a.m. I ended up arriving at 6 a.m. because traffic was late and I got in line -- I was No. 12 or 13. So I waited with a friend until 9 a.m. when they handed out wristbands to come back for the signing -- 375 tickets in all. Someone went nuts while we were all waiting about people cutting in line. I'm pretty sure you could have showed up at 8:30 a.m. and still gotten a ticket.

Anyhow, at 9:10 a.m. I was left to my own devices. I ran Christmas-y type errands and attended to an appointment and generally had a fabulous day, then returned to Borders at 6 p.m. to get back in line. Right before 7, Rachael Ray hit the house and started signing. The signing itself went very fast -- those with wristbands could get a total of two books signed, one of which must be Just in Time and the other must be either a book from the same publisher or her current magazine edition. Also, she would only personalize the Just in Time book, would not sign any memorabilia nor pose for photos except maybe with children.

The signing went by really fast. They came around and had us write our names on post-it notes and then the handlers shoved it in front of Rachael Ray for her to sign and a fast snap shot and then you got hustled out. It was a 30-second encounter that was 13 hours in the making for me.

And it was worth every second.

Back when I knew nothing about food and had no interest in ever making anything besides mac and cheese from a box, I flipped onto the Food Network and watched a minorly known cook make up 30-minute meals with ingredients I could actually pronounce and recognize. Rachael Ray is my food idol and the reason I got into cooking in the first place, so this was a banner moment for me.

Things I learned about Rachael Ray:
-- She's tiny. On the show, she looks much bigger, but in person, I swear I could fit her in my purse.
-- She's that bubbly in person too. I watched her with other people and she really is that happy.
-- She's a get-it-done lady. I know she has a ton of shows, books and magazines, but in person, that motivation comes through. She never stopped for water, chatting or anything else. She got there early and ready to work. I'd be tired, if I were her.

I only regret that I did not ask her to sign more stuff. I had another, hardcover book that Borders told me she wouldn't sign because it was a different publisher, but others got it signed. I also wanted a spatula signed, but didn't because Borders said she wouldn't, but I'm sure she would have if I'd ask. It's too bad, I would have gotten it framed for my kitchen. As it is, I'll never know anything about the Just in Time book because it will be stored in a safe place and never read for fear of damage.

But hell, I still met my cooking idol. I also had a wonderful day of shopping and other productive activities, so there's nothing I can get too upset over.

12 comments:

durianberry said...

Wow! 3 hours of waiting in line? But then again, I would do anything to get any celebrity chef's signature ;) Rachael Ray is amazing and so down to earth. I only get to watch her on youtube

Peter M said...

I've eased up on my opinion of Rachel Ray. I recently picked up one of her magazines and the dishes are way better than her "30 minute" miracles.

Lydia said...

I'm sure RR would be horrified to think that you wouldn't use her book just because she'd signed it! Much better to have it covered with food stains, well used and loved -- especially for the 13 hours it took to get it. Happy holidays, Kelly.

Cutie said...

Wow, that's cool that u get to meet ur chef idol. I wish I get to meet mine - Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. Hehe...

Andrea said...

That really was a fast snapshot. You're both still in motion!

Cynthia said...

I'm very happy for you.

Eileen said...

Cool. I hope people wait in line to have me sign their book- but I'm not counting on it. : ) I think anyone who promotes people cooking is a good thing.

Dr ve Thru said...

Hopped over to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

bp said...

Wow, you were there bright and early to clinch your spot, and I can feel your excitement just from reading this post =)

Glad you met Rachel Ray!

HOMERO said...

Feliz Navidad Kelly para vos y toda tu familia. Que Dios bendiga tu hogar y te proteja siempre. Una pregunta: tienes una buena receta de pavo navideƱo? Un beso. H.

Wind said...

It must be very exciting for you to see your chef idol! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Windy

DC said...

She is short isn't she? I guess we just think our TV/Cooking Idols are larger than life, which always makes it strange to see them in person!

Amanda from DCMetrocentric