Food blog

The Enchanting Dinner That Sealed Rachael Ray’s Matrimonial Bond

The romantic meal responsible for Rachael Ray’s marriage

Finding love can happen in the most unexpected ways, and for celebrity chef Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano, it all started with a memorable meal. In a recent Instagram video, Ray shared the dish that sparked their first conversation and led to an enduring relationship that has spanned more than two decades. Let’s dive into the heartwarming story behind the romantic meal that brought Rachael Ray and John Cusimano together.

A Memorable Encounter

Ray and Cusimano’s love story began at a party where they found themselves the shortest people in the room. Height may have initially drawn them together, but it was their shared passion for cooking that truly bonded them. Cusimano shared the dish he had enjoyed the night before: pan-seared tilapia with a spicy tomatillo sauce and a side of maque choux.

A Culinary Connection

The mention of Maque Choux, a traditional Southern dish, intrigued Rachael Ray. Maque Choux typically consists of fresh corn, vegetables, and spices that are steamed or braised to create a rich and comforting side dish. Ray’s version of maque choux includes a blend of fresh corn, celery, red onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a touch of heat from jalapeño peppers and cayenne pepper hot sauce. The dish is enhanced with the addition of herbs such as cilantro and mint, as well as a generous amount of butter for added richness.

The Secret Ingredient: Tomatillo Sauce

To complement the pan-seared tilapia and maque choux, Ray’s husband prepared a tantalizing tomatillo sauce. While store-bought options are available, Ray prefers to make her own tomatillo sauce from scratch. Her recipe calls for tomatillos, poblano peppers, onions, Mexican cream, and a squeeze of lime juice for a burst of freshness. The combination of spicy tomatillos, smoky poblano peppers, and creamy creme creates a sauce that perfectly complements the flavors of the main dish and side dishes.

A recipe for love

The romantic meal that brought Rachael Ray and John Cusimano together is not only a delicious combination of flavors, but also a symbol of their enduring love. Ray describes it as “the dish that made it all happen” and calls it her special song. The simple yet flavorful preparation of the pan-seared tilapia, seasoned with a blend of spices, showcases Ray’s expertise in the kitchen. The maque choux, with its vibrant colors and harmonious blend of vegetables and herbs, adds a touch of Southern comfort to the meal.

Recreating the Romantic Dinner

For those who want to recreate the romantic meal responsible for Rachael Ray’s marriage, here’s a breakdown of the key components:

Pan-Seared Tilapia

To prepare the pan-seared tilapia, follow Ray’s basic techniques. Start by seasoning the tilapia fillets with cumin, coriander, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder for a flavorful crust. Heat a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned tilapia fillets and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. The result is a tender and flaky fish that pairs perfectly with the other elements of the meal.

Maque Choux

To make the Maque Choux, combine fresh corn, celery, red onion, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, mint, jalapeño peppers, and cayenne pepper hot sauce. Cut the corn from the cob and sauté with the vegetables in a saucepan until tender. Add the herbs, jalapeño peppers, and hot sauce for a touch of heat. Finally, stir in a generous amount of butter to add richness and depth of flavor. The result is a vibrant and flavorful side dish that complements the tilapia beautifully.

Tomatillo Sauce

To make the tomatillo sauce, combine fresh tomatillos, poblano peppers, onions, Mexican cream, and lime juice. Roast the tomatillos and poblano peppers under the broiler until charred and blistered. Remove the skins and seeds from the peppers, then blend with the tomatillos, onions, and Mexican Cream until smooth. Add a squeeze of lime juice for a refreshing twist. The resulting sauce is tangy, slightly spicy, and adds a burst of flavor to the entire meal.

A dish of love and connection

The romantic meal that brought Rachael Ray and John Cusimano together is more than a combination of flavors on a plate; it’s a testament to the power of food to create connections and lasting relationships. The simplicity and deliciousness of pan-seared tilapia, maque choux, and tomatillo sauce make it a meal everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re preparing it for a special occasion or just want to enjoy the flavors of love, this recipe is sure to bring joy and warmth to your table.
Finally, the romantic meal responsible for Rachael Ray’s marriage is a beautiful reminder that love can be found in unexpected places, even in the form of a shared meal. The combination of pan-seared tilapia, maque choux, and homemade tomatillo sauce showcases the couple’s love for food and each other. By recreating this meal, you can not only experience the flavors that brought Rachael Ray and John Cusimano together, but also create your own lasting memories and connections. Happy Cooking!


The specific details of the romantic meal that brought Rachael Ray and her husband together have not been made public. However, it is widely known that the couple shares a love of good food and cooking.

Did Rachael Ray credit the romantic meal as the reason for her marriage?

While Rachael Ray has not explicitly credited the romantic dinner as the sole reason for her marriage, it is believed to have played a significant role in deepening their connection and fostering their relationship.

Was the romantic dinner a surprise or was it planned by Rachael Ray?

There is no information on whether the romantic dinner was a surprise or planned by Rachael Ray. The couple may have decided together to create a special and memorable dining experience.

Are there any special dishes or recipes associated with the romantic meal?

The specific dishes or recipes associated with the romantic meal have not been revealed. Rachael Ray is known for her culinary expertise and creativity, so it is likely that the meal will consist of delicious and carefully prepared dishes.

How did the romantic meal affect Rachael Ray’s relationship?

The romantic meal likely played a positive role in deepening the connection between Rachael Ray and her spouse. Sharing a special meal can create intimate moments, enhance communication, and foster a sense of closeness, all of which contribute to a strong and lasting relationship.

Does Rachael Ray have any advice on how to create a romantic meal?

While there is no specific advice from Rachael Ray regarding the romantic meal that brought her and her spouse together, she has shared numerous tips and ideas for creating romantic meals in general. These include setting the mood with candlelight, incorporating meaningful or favorite ingredients, and focusing on dishes that can be prepared together for a shared experience.

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