Here's What Happens To The Leftover Food From The Rachael Ray Show

Over the last 15 years, "The Rachael Ray Show" has featured a fair number of pretty delicious dishes. Despite having no formal culinary experience, Rachael Ray has taught her fans how to prepare everything from pulled pork sandwiches to Korean gochujang noodles, often in 30 minutes or less. But, after Rachael Ray has demonstrated to her show's audience and foodies at home how to replicate these recipes in their own kitchens, there is often lots of perfectly good food that has gone uneaten. 

Ray has no shortage of tips and tricks on how fans can make the most of leftovers in their own homes, such as turning excess bread into bread pudding, making tasty, healthy soup out of extra vegetables, and even offering suggestions on what to do with leftover coffee, per the Rachael Ray Show. But where do all of her delicious leftovers go after the show is over? Well, once filming ends, members of the cast and crew finally get a chance to enjoy the tasty creations. But even so, there are still sometimes more leftovers than even the employees can finish in one sitting.

The Rachael Ray Show donates their leftovers to City Harvest

According to The Daily Meal, insurance stipulations prohibit any of the studio audience members from sampling any of the meals that have been prepared on set, but luckily, that doesn't mean that all the extra food simply goes to waste. Instead, "The Rachael Ray Show" partners with City Harvest, a New York City-based non-profit organization whose mission is "to end hunger in communities throughout New York City ... through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions," according to their website.

City Harvest was founded back in 1982, when founding Executive Director Helen verDuin Palit asked the chef of a nearby restaurant if he would contribute his unused cooked potatoes — which normally got tossed in the trash — to the soup kitchen where she worked. The organization now serves over 1.5 million food-insecure New Yorkers and saves over 153 million pounds of food annually, per City Harvest.

City Harvest provides food assistance to New Yorkers in need

While Rachael Ray certainly has a lot of food she can regularly donate to City Harvest, just about any food business can donate their leftover food to the organization. They accept all food donations that have been prepared by a regulated or licensed restaurant, caterer, farm, or food business, as long as it has been maintained as a safe temperature, chilled or frozen before being picked up, and has not been plated or served. The organization even comes to the donor's building to pick up the food as-needed, and daily or weekly pick-ups can also be scheduled for those who regularly have over 100 pounds of food to contribute. 

But that's not all City Harvest does. They also run mobile markets to deliver free, fresh produce to thousands of New Yorkers, as well as run nutrition education programs, to ensure that all city residents have the knowledge and skills they need to prepare healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals for themselves and their families, completely free of charge (via City Harvest). The organization even has a disaster response arm, in which volunteers mobilize to provide food assistance to those in need after a citywide crisis, such as a natural disaster, financial crisis, or most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to become more involved with City Harvest's mission, you can learn how to donate, fundraise, or volunteer at their website

Many other cooking shows also donate their leftover food to food banks and charitable organizations

"The Rachael Ray Show" is far from the only show to donate their leftovers to a worthy cause. Many other cooking and food competition shows also choose to contribute their food to food banks and other local charities. For example, Guy Fieri's exciting cooking competition "Guy's Grocery Games" ensures not a single bit of food that is used on the show goes to waste. According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, all leftover food is donated to local food banks, the unused produce is composted, and anything else that remains is sent off to local farms where it is used as animal feed. 

Popular cooking shows in the UK like "The Great British Bake-off" and "MasterChef UK” also allow their crew members, staff, and hosts to enjoy the tasty goods, while Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" saves all the nonperishable ingredients for the next season, and donates the remaining cupcakes to charitable organizations, according to Spoon University

So while there is no doubt that Rachael Ray and many other cooking show hosts certainly use a lot of food in production, they give back quite a lot as well. While fans get to learn how to cook creative and tasty dishes, many nonprofit and charity organizations also get to enjoy the results of the hosts' deliciously crafted meals.