updated 07/17/2006 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/17/2006 AT 10:25 AM ET
TV chef Rachael Ray has a lot on her plate – but worrying about her weight isn’t one of them.
The Food Network host, best-selling cookbook author and lifestyle-magazine editor – who is about to launch her own daytime talk show – says, “I don’t care about any fashion enough to give up food.”
Asked how she manages her weight, “I don’t,” she said at the Television Critics Association’s summer meeting, reports the Associated Press. “I buy jeans with stretch. Everything I have has stretch in it. I haven’t known my weight since I was 12-years-old. I have enough pressure.”
Ray’s hour-long syndicated show, which debuts on Sept. 18, will mirror her light-hearted attitude. “I want to laugh and eat something in every show,” she said. “It’s very important to me that everything is accessible. People love that sort of friendly advice and that sense of community when you get advice from a peer instead of an expert.”
Unlike Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, Ray’s show won’t be celebrity-driven. Instead, she expects guests – including her husband, lawyer and musician John Cusimano – to relax and get their hands dirty by cooking with her or playing foosball.
“We’re talkers in my family. We’re very loud, talkative, volatile people,” she said of her personal style. “I got a big mouth. My husband is a lot like me. He doesn’t bruise easily.”
As for whether she’s gotten any advice from her friend and mentor Oprah Winfrey, Ray says, “She tells me to be myself. She doesn’t chime in or call up and say, ‘This is how you can be more like Oprah.’ She’s pretty busy with her own job.”
As is Ray. Despite describing herself as “grossly under-qualified for every job I hold,” last December PEOPLE called her an American phenomenon.
In addition to writing cookbooks (her first 11 have sold well over 3.5 million copies), she hosts top-rated shows on the Food Network, provides the vision for her newly launched bimonthly magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray and sells a line of kitchenware.
Now, with this daytime talk show, does Ray consider herself the next Martha Stewart? “It’s flattering,” she told PEOPLE. “But I don’t see the similarities.”