As you may know, Rach turned the big 5-0 on August 25, so it was only fitting to kick off our 13th season with a massive birthday bash for her.
And we pulled out ALL the stops!
Here's exactly how we celebrated our fearless leader:
THE (SURPRISE) GUESTS
Not only was our ENTIRE studio audience filled with viewers and fans who *also* have a 50th birthday this year (how cool is that?!), but we also had some of Rach's best foodie friends -- like chefs Curtis Stone, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse -- surprise her right in studio. (See her reaction in the video above!)
Oh, and did we mention that we also invited Beth Stern, North Shore Animal League America and FIFTY PUPPIES -- that were rescued in Rach's honor -- to the party?!
Then, four young aspiring chefs that Rach has influenced and helped throughout the years stopped by to thank her and give her amazing updates.
What's more is that Curtis, Bobby and Emeril didn't just show up for the party -- they also cooked for Rach so she didn't have to!
And that brings us to the food …
(What a friend!)
Emeril rolled out a 4-tiered cake, courtesy of chef Christina Tosi and Milk Bar -- and the whole audience got to dig in, too!
Get Milk Bar's Classic Birthday Cake recipe so you can make it for YOUR next birthday bash. (Or, you know, have someone make it for you! 😉 )
Rach's friend and celebrity party planner Mary Giuliani not only surprised Rach in studio, but she also helped decorate the entire set for her bash beforehand. (That's what friends are for, are we right?)
Watch the video below to see everyone who pitched in to make the set look AMAZING. (Aren't the flowers courtesy of Tin Can Studios beautiful?)
Doesn't it look stunning?!
THE GIFTS + BIRTHDAY WISHES
The entire studio audience was surprised with a $200 gift card to AUrate New York (for jewelry!) AND two roundtrip Frontier Airlines tickets, which Rach's hubby John helped surprise them with. Plus, they got to take fun photos in our special birthday photo booth and take home their snaps in Things Remembered frames.
(Happy Birthday to them, INDEED!)
PLUS, throughout the hour-long show, Rach also received video messages from 50 of her foodie friends (there were SO many, we split them up into the two videos below!) AND from former First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah.
Not too shabby, huh?
We're pretty sure her faces say it all: