South O’ the Highway

Beth Stern and Bobby Flay Give Rachael Ray a 50th Birthday Surprise

50 puppies were rescued in Ray's name.

Southampton resident Rachael Ray received a sweet birthday surprise on her show this Monday, September 10. During the Season 13 premiere of Rachael Ray Show, fellow Southamptonite Beth Stern and Amagansett’s Bobby Flay appeared to help celebrate Ray who turned 50 on August 25.

As Ray spoke about her birthday, explaining that “the most important thing in my life is gratitude,” Flay walked in, yelling, “Yo, Rachael,” and ran down from the audience to hug her. “When I saw him walk in,” Ray said, “I thought, ‘Oh, good, I don’t have to cook.” Flay confirmed, “I am definitely here to cook for you, for sure, happy birthday.”

Chefs Curtis Stone and Emeril Lagasse also arrived onstage to hug Ray and wish her a happy birthday. The talk show host looks at the three men and giggled, “This is like the greatest prom date ever!” The three chefs cooked for Ray as she enjoyed tributes from 50 celebrity of her friends.

While Flay made an eggplant Bolognese sauce, Ray asked for a glass of red wine. When no glass could be found, Flay poured the wine into a bowl. Handing it to the birthday girl, he quipped, “This is the way we do it in restaurant kitchens.”

Later, Ray’s husband John M. Cusimano came on the stage to honor his wife’s big day and introduce Stern, an animal advocate and national spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America. “One of your partners in pet rescue is here, and they have a little surprise for you,” he said before Ray’s good friend and fellow Southampton resident arrived to wish her a happy birthday and present a special, furry present.

Stern gleefully told Ray 50 puppies were rescued in her honor through North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.

Joined by Lagasse, who Ray said “is even more handsome holding puppies,” Stern and the chef carried two puppies each, but the remaining 46 also rushed the stage in Radio Flyer red wagons.

No slouch in the animal advocacy department herself, Ray’s Nutrish pet food line has donated almost $28 million to pet rescue.

The show’s host, holding a puppy in her arms, urged the audience and viewers to adopt all the little fur babies, explaining, “Nothing in the world would make every person on this stage happier than, if you’re watching, to give all these loving animals a home.”

All Ray’s puppies, and other dogs and cats in need, can be adopted by visiting animalleague.org.

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