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Five aspiring cookbook authors will compete in a series of challenges beginning Monday, April 28 on the RACHAEL RAY show 

Winner will be announced May 19 and will receive book deal with Rachael Ray Books, an imprint of The Atria Publishing Group 

NEW YORK, NY– April 22, 2013 – Five aspiring cookbook authors are one step closer to making their dreams a reality after being named finalists in Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition.

 The competition, launched in November 2013 to find “the next Rachael Ray,” attracted submissions from all over the United States. Entrants were required to showcase a range of skills, from articulating the concept for their cookbook to submitting three original recipes and a cooking demonstration video. The winner will receive a book deal with Rachael Ray Books, an imprint of The Atria Publishing Group, in addition to other prizes.

 The five selected finalists demonstrated impressive cooking recipes and the kind of “can-do,” “problem-solving” attitude Rachael admires – along with five promising cookbook concepts.

 Meet the finalists:


Lauren Kudlawiec, a high school Family and Consumer Science teacher from Johnstown, PA believes families can make healthy food quickly and affordably. Her cookbook would feature “scrumptious, simple and secretly healthy recipes” that prove everyday dishes can become delicious, healthy meals without breaking the budget.

 Linnyette Richardson-Hall from Baltimore, MD, has been planning parties and weddings for 21 years and wants to demystify the process of cooking and hosting parties for any occasion. Her cookbook would guide readers through the entire process of entertaining around food, from recipes, to-do lists, and tips for hosting guests.

 Fanny Slater, a caterer and food writer from Wilmington, NC, says her life is “a recipe composed of cherished culinary encounters.” Her cookbook’s recipes would be “enriched adaptations of [her] beloved food memories,” turning her favorite tastes from childhood into new dishes that inspire imagination in the kitchen.

 Brent Foster from Oak Park, MI, describes himself as a “foodie for life” who loves to try new techniques and tools while testing out new recipes. A professional cook and caterer, Brent’s cookbook would feature flavorful, outside-the-box vegan party snacks and appetizers.

 Merry Graham from Newhall, CA, began cooking competitively after her children were grown. She loves experimenting with recipes, and has a passion for “solving problems in the kitchen and continually working at hitting the wow factor in each recipe.” Merry’s cookbook would feature five versatile sauce recipes that could be used as the base for fifty different recipes.

 Now these finalists will travel to New York City to take part in a series of challenges with surprise guest judges on RACHAEL RAY. Each Monday beginning Monday, April 28, viewers will see one competitor eliminated each week until the winner is announced on May 19.

 The winner will receive a book contract with Rachael Ray Books, an imprint of The Atria Publishing Group. The Grand Prize is valued at over $20,000 and includes a culinary trip to Cancun, Mexico, a GE Kitchen Appliance Suite, an assortment of Rachael’s cookware, and an appearance on the RACHAEL RAY show and feature in Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine.

 Full contest details can be found at

 RACHAEL RAY, the 2008 and 2009 Emmy® Award-winning Outstanding Talk Show, is distributed and produced by CBS Television Distribution in association with Harpo Productions, Scripps Networks and Watch Entertainment. Janet Annino is the Executive Producer. CBS Television Distribution is a unit of CBS Corp.

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Lauren Nowell