Rachael Ray's Heartbreaking Tribute To Late Ray The Butcher

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It's always fun to escape into your favorite television show, sitting back, relaxing, and letting the warm and cozy feelings wash over us. But even food reality shows that are mostly all about fun and laughter can't escape some of the tougher parts of real life. Loss touches us all, and even the entertainment industry isn't immune to this very real, sad part of life. In the past, viewers' hearts were broken over the loss of people like Food Network star Carl Ruiz, and the tragic truth of Anthony Bourdain's death left many people shaken. 

Now, TV host and chef Rachael Ray has shared that a beloved contributor to "The Rachael Ray Show" has died. Ray Venezia, also known as "Ray the Butcher," died in August 2022 at the age of 63 (via Dignity Memorial). Ray shared a video montage of Venezia on her show over the years, saying, "he was someone that we lost not only recently but also suddenly," and that she wanted to honor his memory by sharing some of the best moments from his many appearances on her show. "I tell people, I'm Rachael's Ray," Venezia joked in one segment (per "The Rachael Ray Show"). But who is Venezia, and when did he start appearing on Ray's show?

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Who was Ray the Butcher?

Ray Venezia was also known as "Ray the Butcher" on "The Rachael Ray Show." According to his Twitter bio, Venezia was a 3rd generation master butcher. He was also an author, penning 2016's "The Everyday Meat Guide: A Neighborhood Butcher's Advice Book." But he started appearing on Ray's show long before his book was published, all the way back in 2007, according to his obituary. In addition to his "Rachael Ray Show" appearances, Venezia also appeared on a couple of episodes of "Fox and Friends" (via IMDB).

Venezia worked as a butcher for more than 25 years, and he shared tips with Ray's viewers about everything from selecting the best cuts of meat at the store to preparing and cooking them. Venezia was so renown for his butchery that in 2007, when he was the manager of the meat department at New York's Fairway Market, he was featured in a video about the right way to carve a Thanksgiving turkey. He was even brought back for an update in 2013 (via The New York Times). Clearly, Venezia left a lasting impact on Ray. In her farewell segment to Venezia on the show, Ray said, "We wish he was here with us now. We are part of his family, and our love goes out to them, of course. We have so much respect for Ray" (via "The Rachael Ray Show").