The young Martha Stewart

How well do you think you know Martha Stewart? Find her unusual taste in wall decor, her two alternative careers, and the awards she received that had nothing to do with cooking.

1. Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray hate each other, thanks to a heated feud that started in 2006. Rumor has it that Rachael hung a sign on her door that says: “Martha doesn’t live here.”

2. Martha collects taxidermied animals.

3. Martha set the Guiness record for most number of people with the same name in the same room, thanks to an episode in her show when she invited hundreds of “other Marthas” .

4. Though she can perfectly pair her wine with her dish, her favorite drink is a vodka martini.

5. People magazine named Martha one of “50’s Most Beautiful Women” in 1996. Not her first magazine award: she was one of Glamour’s “Best Dressed College Girls of 1961.” (She begun modeling in high school to put herself through college.) She graduated from Barnard.

6. If she didn’t start her media empire, Martha would’ve made a fortune in Wall Sreet. She was one of the first female stock brokers, getting her license in 1968.

Emeril.jpgIn the busy world we live in, eating has been done on the run. A lot of people admit that they don’t have the time or have never learned to cook for themselves. This situation is why many fast food chains so successful.

Enter the celebrity chefs. These masters of the kitchen are inspiring a whole new generation of cooks and no, they are not all women. In fact Food Network says that their demographics are 50% percent male for all their shows.

Many guys say that Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Bobby Flay have helped them develop their taste for gourmet food. The best part is that they can cook it for themselves at home. In fact the Food Network has more male chefs than female ones, just as the male professional chefs outnumber the female chefs.

As Rachael Ray puts it, pop culture and TV has made cooking cool and manly. She says, “You see a lot more men on TV with food, good food.”

Irregardless whichever sex we are, those of us who aren’t that great in the kitchen are thankful to have some truly great chefs to learn from.

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Giada De Laurentiis may seem to lead the glamorous life. She’s a very popular celebrity chef. She has a brand new show on the Food Network called “Giada’s Weekend Getaways” aside from her “Everyday Italian”. She has a thriving catering business, endorses a number of products and is about to release her third cookbook “Everyday Pasta”. With all of that on her plate, her schedule is quite gruelling.

Unlike “Everyday Italian” which is pretty laid back and shot in her kitchen, “Giada’s Weekend Getaways” had this pretty chef hopping from one location to another, from one city to another and checking out some of the hottest places to go. They had her jet skiing, learning to salsa and driving around in a convertible in a single episode. That was the pace of the past eight months worth of work.

It’s a good thing that she and husband clothing designer Todd Thompson have decided to put off having kids for a while. The pace right now is very hectic. De Laurentiis says they’ll probably wait a couple of years before settling down and having a family.

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In this day and age, many of us do not know how to cook. Quite a few are afraid to do so because they don’t have any experience or background in it. Even if we buy a cookbook or watch these great chefs on TV, we just don’t seem to get the hang of it.

This is where Rachael Ray came in. She is not a formally trained chef. She has taken no cooking courses. She just loves food and isn’t afraid to try something new in the kitchen. Add to it her perky personality, or as she puts it goofy personality, and she had people willing to give cooking a chance.

Rachael learned to cook the old fashioned way, from watching her mom cook. Her family owned a restaurant in Cape Cod. Later her mom managed restaurants in upstate New York. At home, she enjoyed the flavors of Italy and Louisiana.

Rachael began her career at the Candy Counter in Macy’s New York. She then became the manager of the fresh foods department. After Macy’s she helped open the gourmet market place Agata and Valentina, serving as both buyer and manager.

It wasn’t unitl she moved upstate that Rachel’s destiny began to shape up. She was recruited by Cowan and Label to be their food buyer. While she was there, Rachael decided to hold some cooking classes as a way to increase the christmas sales. Her 30 Minute Meal classes became so popular they caught the attention of the media.

An Albany TV station then asked her to do a weekly 30 minute meal segment as part of the evening news. The show was nominated for 2 regional Emmy awards and Rachael’s first cookbook, a companion to the show, was released selling 10,000 copies.

Now, she hosts 4 shows on the food network: 30 Minute Meals, $40 a Day, Inside Dish and Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels. She has also signed a contract with Oprah Winfrey and King World Productions to launch her own syndicated talk show, Rachael Ray, beginning September 18, 2006.

She has authored several cookbooks following her 30 minute meal concept and has her own magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray. She has also developed her own line of cookware and cutlery.