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Meet Rachael Ray’s Father James Ray: Full Bio Here

James Ray is the father of American TV personality and celebrity chef Rachael Ray. His daughter is a well-known foodie and has appeared in numerous cooking shows, including The Rachael Ray Show, 30 Minute Meals, and more. 

Well, Rachael’s cooking skills largely came as a result of her parents’ mixed heritage. On that note, let’s take a look at the role her father played in her life and his relationship with her and her mother.

James Ray Is Of Mixed Ethnicity

James was born James Claude Ray on April 4, 1935, in New York City, United States of America. Although he was born in the USA, he is not a full-blown American. He is of mixed origins: Welsh, Scottish, and French. He also goes by other names, such as Jim Ray. 

Initially, he owned three restaurants in Cape Cod with his then-wife, Elsa Providenzia Scuderi. As the two sold their restaurants and moved back to Lake Luzerne, Glen Falls, New York, in the early 70s, James became the marketing director for a publisher.

James Ray's wife, Elsa Scuderi with her children Rachael Ray and Maria Betar
James’ wife, Elsa (R), with her daughters

Rachael Ray’s Father James Ray Marriage Lasted 14 Years

1967 was a year to remember for James Ray as he tied the knot with the love of his life, Elsa, in a beautiful ceremony in Glens Falls, Warren County. His spouse, who is of Sicilian descent, was taught to cook by her father. He not only drilled into her the value of hard work but also the joy of their native cuisine. 

James Ray's wife and daughter in the kitchen
James’s wife, Elsa, teaching their daughter, Rachael

The married duo worked in the three restaurants they owned in Cape Cod. Later, when they changed locations, James would take a more administrative role, and Elsa was in charge of cooking. Their conjugal life went on very smoothly for the initial part of their marriage.

But, the pair would eventually get a divorce in 1981 after 14 years of married life together.

Did James And His Ex-Spouse Have An Amicable Divorce?

James and Elsa’s marriage was not always roses and rainbows. Their divorce was anything but friendly. According to him, the family life fell apart when they sold their restaurants. James admitted that the events that transpired were his fault entirely.

His ex-wife was a great mother to their children, but he was under great stress. He also refused Elsa’s plea to see a psychiatrist. Rachael’s parents were both taking medications at the time, with Elsa taking Valium and James Lithium. However, James stopped taking his medicines because it made him shake.

Things had gotten bad between the couple as James and Elsa didn’t even sleep in the same bed. That was enough for him. He took a handgun they had in the house and went to his wife’s room. Elsa and the children woke up to the sight of him holding a handgun, yelling, “Is this what you want me to do?” 

Truth Was Revealed After Parting Ways

This incident prompted Elsa to get a divorce from Jim, and she also got custody of the children. Elsa took a job opening and managed nine locations for a restaurant group following the split. The kids had no worries about summer or after-school jobs as they got plenty.

Furthermore, James moved out but was worried. So, he provided money to his ex-wife to hire a nanny for their children.

Additionally, James had suspected Elsa of cheating on him before their separation. Elsa repeatedly denied the claim, stating he was the only man in her life, but he didn’t believe it. It turns out she was in a relationship with another man, and the kids knew it, too. Rachael had been told not to tell him about that.

James Ray Welcomed Two Children With His Then-Wife Elsa

Throughout their decade-long marriage, the former couple would give birth to one daughter, Rachael Domenica Ray, and one son, Emmanuel Scott Ray. Elsa also had a daughter, Maria Betar, from her previous relationship.

James Ray's stepdaughter, Maria Betar
James’ stepdaughter Maria was from Elsa’s past relationship.

Throughout her childhood, Rachael was continuously exposed to cooking as her parents worked in restaurants. As Elsa didn’t want to leave her children with others, she brought them along to work. So, Rachael and Maria grew up watching their mom in the restaurant kitchen. 

Once, Rachael tried to emulate her mother, flipping something with a spatula only to burn her own thumb. Nonetheless, she inherited her Elsa’s and her grandfather’s Sicilian cooking traditions. From her father’s side, she would learn the cuisine conventions of Louisiana.

Considering her great cooking lineage and skills, it is no surprise that James’ daughter found unreal success doing what she did best and that was creating dishes.

How’s Rachael’s Relationship With Her Father, James Ray?

The father and daughter had lots of tense moments growing up. James Ray’s suicide threat scarred Rachael’s childhood. And just as her career was taking off, it looked like he might have slowed down her momentum when he sat down for an interview with The National Enquirer.

James went on to reveal that Rachael was lonely at school and even went hungry at home. 

How Rachael received this news was not publicly known. But it seemed like the two were on good terms. Rachael made mentions of him through her X (formerly Twitter) account and mentioned his 79th birthday in 2014. 

However, following 2015, things might have gone sour between them. Rachael stopped referencing him altogether, although she mentioned other members of her family, sister Maria, and her mother, Elsa, countless times. Then, she snubbed him on one of the most important days of her life

Rachael Did Not Invite James During Her Anniversary Celebration

Rachael and her husband John Cusimano traveled to Montalcino, Italy, for the party in late 2015. 95 guests who also attended their wedding were invited, but Rachael’s dad was not. Even the couple’s pitbull, Isaboo was among the guests.

James Ray's biological daughter, Rachael Ray
James’s daughter, Rachael, snubbed him from her 10th wedding anniversary.

James was disappointed but noted that it was better for him not to go as he had a bout with diverticulitis when he attended the duo’s wedding in 2005. It is likely that Rachael is not in contact with her dad.