Rachael Ray gets emotional during last episode of her show: 'We'll see ya when we see ya'
The "Rachael Ray Show" has served its final course.
The nationally syndicated daytime talk show wrapped Wednesday after 17 seasons of cooking, talk and lifestyle segments. In her final episode, an emotional Ray cooked her last dish (a "crabby carbonara" per request from her husband John Cusimano) and was sprinkled with sweet video messages from Oprah Winfrey and Donnie Wahlberg.
"I couldn't be more proud of you for showing up as yourself so authentically every day and bringing us laughter and joy all of these years," Winfrey said, noting Ray first appeared on the "Oprah" show in 2005, and she knew she was "the real deal."
Winfrey continued: "Believe me, I know what it takes for you to have done this show for 17 years. So I say on behalf of the audience who has adored you all these years: Thank you and congratulations. And I can't wait to see what you cook up next."
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Wahlberg was a guest on Ray's show 13 times, sometimes joined by his wife Jenny McCarthy. Both praised Ray for her sincerity and friendship.
"You are really kind Rachael, and in this business, not everybody is genuine," Wahlberg said, adding that being on her show was always a highlight of his year. "It's such a joy to be around you."
"Thank you so much for being a friend, sister, a mentor, all those things when you watch you on TV, and most importantly, being so wonderful," McCarthy said. "You are indeed a GOAT in daytime."
Chef Richard Blais, who appeared in 56 episodes of Ray's show, also offered up a recorded segment where he praised Ray and made a lobster and chicken picatta, of course utilizing some of Ray's staple ingredients, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), white wine and butter.
"Lobster loves butter like Richard Blais loves Rachael Ray," he teased.
The show closed by rolling through the team's favorite moments from the show, bloopers, cool celebrity guests and so many Halloween costumes.
Ray also shared a message of her own through tears, thanking Winfrey, her work family and viewers for watching her grow up on their TV screens.
"I would not have had these 17 years with these beautiful, loving, wonderful people – and with all the people are gracious enough to share their time with us and watch us from home – I would not have this life without Oprah, without this team."
And lucky for fans, Ray is going to "keep cooking" and "keep working."
"I like work, so I'm going to keep doing that," she said.
She signed off: "We'll see ya when we see ya and I hope that’s really soon."
CBS announced in March that the "Rachael Ray Show" would conclude. Ray, formerly a staple of the Food Network with "30 Minute Meals" (2002-19), said at the time she'd "made the decision that it’s time for me to move on to the next exciting chapter in my broadcast career." Ray, 54, said she would be transitioning to running her own production arm, Free Food Studios, where she plans to "introduce and develop new and upcoming epicurean talent."
Earlier this week, Ray's former show guests like Cameron Diaz, Whoopi Goldberg, Kate Hudson, Jimmy Kimmel, and Michael Strahan toasted Ray with video recorded farewells.
"Thank you for always being the most fun," Hudson said. "I know you're just going to be missed by so many because you bring people so much joy."
Former first lady Michelle Obama remembered planting vegetables with Ray at the White House and Ray "donating all those meals to folks in need. Thank you, Rachael, for always being down for a little adventure with me," Obama said, "and for lifting all of us up every afternoon with your energy, your infectious laugh and those mouthwatering recipes."
The "Rachael Ray Show" debuted in 2006 with Diane Sawyer as Ray's first guest. In 2019, Ray earned a daytime Emmy for outstanding informative talk show and in 2011 she won a People's Choice Award for favorite TV chef.
Ray's exit follows the conclusion of several syndicated talk shows. "Dr. Phil" is also ending this spring. "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Wendy Williams Show," "The Real," "Maury" and "The Doctor Oz Show" wrapped last year.
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Contributing: Elise Brisco
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rachael Ray's farewell: Oprah, Donnie Wahlberg bring chef to tears