America’s down-to-earth kitchen and lifestyle Diva, Rachael Ray, known for her wildly successful career as an “iconic” Food Network television personality, bestselling cookbook author and editor–in-chief of her own lifestyle magazine, has gone to the dogs.

Now the Emmy Award-Winning talk show hostess with the mostest is setting out to get America’s pets on a healthy diet, and she plans to woo pet owners to her Nutrish line of high-end dog food by way of her Pup-Up Food Truck for Dogs in Manhattan. The truck will offer six varieties of Rachael Ray’s Nutrish dog food.

She began handing samples out on Thursday, and depending on the response, she’s considering taking the truck out to other cities in an effort to raise awareness of overcrowded pet shelters and adoption agencies.

This year, she expects to donate $4 Million of proceeds from the Nutrish line to animal welfare organizations. Back in 2006, Rachael created her own non-profit organization, Yum-o, to help children and their families learn about healthy food and cooking, which is financed by sales of cookbooks and other items.

“We wanted to come up with a dedicated product, like we did for children,” she said. “So there are no galas, no celebrity concerts, but a product that builds awareness of a problem and generates income.”

With items like Savory Lamb Stew, and Hearty Beef Stew, Beef Stroganwoof, or Chicken Muttballs, we’re thinking that many curious food truck foodies ordered some for themselves.

Manufactured by the family-owned Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, in Meadville, Pa., Nutrish was the fastest-growing dry dog food brand in grocery stores for the 26 weeks ending Sept. 29. Sales were $22.6 million, up 45.4 percent from the same period last year, according to Ainsworth. The line is expected to reach $100 million in retail sales by January 2013.

“Dogs will be served their choice on a dish, and they can go home with samples and a bottle of pup water,” Ms. Ray said in an interview this week after the filming of her daytime syndicated talk show, Rachael Ray.

Rachael boasts that Nutrish is made to human standards – not something foodies will snub their noses at. In fact, she admits that she’s nibbled on her canine niblets herself. “The wet food looks like real food, not brown mush,” she said.

Helping to increase awareness, she said, is the 2012 Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. The goal of the initiative, begun in August with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is for 50 animal shelters to save at least 300 more dogs and cats from August through October than they did during the same three-month period last year. The most successful shelter will win $100,000, and other shelters can win lesser amounts for their efforts.

She calls her food truck “the Woof Wagon,” and plans to engage with fans through Facebook and Twitter, just as any street food-loving food truck operator would do.

Ray plans to expand the line of dog food, and introduce a line for cats in the next year – in homage to her mom.

Read the entire story in the New York Times

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About the Author

Chris Ford is the founder of Stitches 'n Dishes and editor in chief with a passion for food, photography and travel. Chris is a Media Correspondent for the Food Network TV show, Eat St, a syndicated blogger, seasoned event organizer and promoter, a food critic, a marketing consultant and Social Media Marketing expert. Chris is also a fashion and entertainment photographer. When he's not dining on the sidewalk, he's snapping photos on the catwalk.

  • Bradford Rand

    Nice article, but as a personal friend of hers I must alert you Chris – her name is spelled Rachael not Rachel as in your headline – you may want to edit that – Bradford

    • StitchesnDishes


    • StitchesnDishes

      You should tell Rachael about the post and ask her to stop by to wish Stitch a happy birthday, as well!