Huge crowd greets cooking star Rachael Ray at Concord book signing

Huge crowd greets cooking star Rachael Ray at Concord book signing


by DION LIM / NBC Charlotte

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 1:48 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 12 at 2:26 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s pretty safe to say the line -- stretching around the perimeter and out the door of Books-a-Million in Concord -- means something *big* is about to happen.

“I’m shaking! I’m excited! I can’t wait," Cries one man at the front of the line, about 600 deep.

None other than super-cook and queen of E-V-O-O (extra virgin olive oil for those who don’t know), Rachael Ray is on tour with her new book “My Year Of Meals,” co-written by her husband John Cusimano.

The book is a departure from her numerous previous cookbooks, since this one features about 500 recipes, and 100 of her husband’s drink recipes, and documentations of exactly what she ate for an entire year. This includes vegan and vegetarian recipes from friends, and complicated dishes that take days of preparation.

No matter what the topic of the book, these fans prove they’re willing to wait as long as it takes to see Rachael.

“We have wristbands on so we had to stand in line for two hours yesterday to get the wristbands, and then come here today and wait in line,” smiles Marilyn Barnhardt from Concord. Not that she’s complaining.

After getting stuck in traffic and a small delay, Rachael bursts in with a big “Hey ya’ll!” and plenty of applause.

When asked about her whirlwind time in the Queen City?

“[I shopped at] a cool place called Coral. Read all about it in your magazine as one of the best places to shop,” she says.

Where did this foodie eat?

“We went to Harvest Moon for lunch, and we’re going to Halcyon tonight. I can’t wait!”

With the same enthusiasm, she recalls what she makes her family to eat for the holidays.

“For Christmas Eve, my grandparent’s artichokes. They look like giant Christmas stars, stuffed. Cioppino, an Italian seafood stew,” she shares.

If that’s not enough, the list continues.

“The day after we make a Christmas pasta. It’s got everything, short ribs, sausages, everything in a ragu with rigatoni or pappaerdell. Christmas, I always make a Panettone French toast. Me and my mommy do, everyone sleeps in but mom and I drink and eat!”

Viewers asked on Facebook how Rachael manages to do it all.

“Love, love, what you do. Wasn’t it Churchill who said it? If you love what you do, you’re never at work? I’m never at work,” she beams.

Not to mention, some java doesn’t hurt.

“Caffeine during the day, and red wine at night. And the gym six days a week!”