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Known to her fans as “the Barefoot Contessa,” Ina Garten is one of the Food Network’s most beloved personalities thanks to her down-to-earth cooking style with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and time-saving tips. The Emmy-award winning home cook and entertainer has hosted her program The Barefoot Contessa for almost a decade and fans are demanding more seasons yet.
With no formal culinary training, Ina made the jump from White House nuclear energy budget writer to food and entertainment after a trip to a special grocery store – The Barefoot Contessa – in the Hamptons made her realize that while her job was stimulating, it just didn’t speak to her passion. She bought that store in the Hamptons and for 20 years it provided her with the perfect platform to cultivate her knowledge and love of cooking.
After authoring the best-selling cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, the Food Network approached her, asking her to bring her humble “real-life” culinary style to their channel. Garten has been a monthly columnist at House Beautiful and in prior years at Martha Stewart Living, and O, the Oprah magazine. Her most recent cookbook Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook delivers recipes that can be prepared in advance of an event, so people can focus more on hosting guests and enjoying the moment.
The Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa
When she left her job in government to buy a small specialty food store 30 years ago, Ina Garten showed how taking risks and pursuing one’s passion changes everything.
In 1978, Ina Garten found herself working in the White House on nuclear energy policy—and feeling unfulfilled with the course of her career. With little experience and no professional training as a chef, Garten boldly decided to follow her passion for food and entertaining in buying a small, 300-square-foot food store named Barefoot Contessa. Garten’s sheer determination built Barefoot Contessa into a national household name and multi-platform lifestyle empire currently consisting of Barefoot Contessa Pantry products, cookbooks and the Emmy Award-winning Barefoot Contessa show on the Food Network.
Describing herself as a business person who cooks, Garten shares the pivotal decisions and moments that shaped her career while offering insights on creating a vision, following it and being ready to meet challenges head-on. Known for her trademark wit, warmth and humility, Garten’s life is an inspiring example of how to align your passion with what you do—and in the process turn both into a true success.
In her own words
I had no idea what I was getting into. In 1978, I was working in the White House Office of Management and Budget and thinking I’ve got to do something more creative. I came across an ad in the New York Times for a specialty food store for sale in the Hamptons and I decided to investigate. My husband Jeffrey and I drove to Long Island to see the store and I fell in love. I had no experience in the food business but I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do. I made the owner an offer thinking I’d go home and I’d think about it. She called the next day and said, “I accept your offer.” Yikes! I owned a specialty food store!
Eighteen years later, Barefoot Contessa was a store that was celebrated both for its style and delicious food. In 1996, I sold the store to two employees who continue those traditions. At that point, with nothing to do, I built myself an office over the store and tried my hand writing a cookbook. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook turned out to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done professionally and the response from readers has been absolutely overwhelming. In 2001, I published my second book, Barefoot Contessa Parties! In 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style was released, and I started my show on Food Network, also called Barefoot Contessa. In 2004, I published Barefoot in Paris about my favorite simple French food and my fifth cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home, was published in 2006. In 2008, I released my sixth cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and started my new show of the same name on Food Network. In 2010 I published my seventh book, How Easy is That? and in 2012 I published my eighth book, Foolproof. This year I will publish, Make It Ahead.
I live in East Hampton with my husband Jeffrey.
Cooking sensation, Ina Garten discusses her unlikely path to becoming a backbone of the Food Network, an opportunity that came about only after she had challenged herself by dropping everything in her life and doing nothing. After 20 years of scaling and running her acclaimed gourmet food store, the Barefoot Contessa, she was searching for something new to do with her life...for at least two years.
“A friend of mine said to me, 'Type A people think they can figure out what they're going to do next while they're doing something, and they can't,” Ina recalls. Taking her friend's advice, she sold her store to the chef and the manager so that she would have “nothing to do.” “If you think that's easy, it's not,” she confesses with a knowing smile.
Cooking and entertaining don’t have to be stressful; home kitchen guru, Ina Garten proves that, as she shares tools for cooking, entertaining, and following your passion. In an onstage interview, Ina takes people through the steps she took to reinvent her life and scale a specialty food store that became iconic. The self-described “business woman who cooks” offers an inside view to her successful line of cookbooks, television show, and the risks she has taken to make every day more fulfilling.
A Conversation with the Barefoot Contessa—Ina Garten
What does it take to follow your passion and transform it into a dream career? In this moderated discussion, learn from Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten as she shares her journey from White House analyst to one of today's most successful lifestyle and food icons. With poignant, funny and inspiring stories from her own career, Garten shares with audiences on what it took for her to strike out on her own and build a business from nothing into a food empire. Garten is the personification of a creative entrepreneur who moves audiences to find new challenges and find their true selves.
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Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, Ina gives you lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good—or even better!—when they’re made in advance.
In Make It Ahead, each recipe includes clear instructions for what you can do ahead of time, and how far in advance, so you can cook with confidence and eliminate last-minute surprises. Make a pitcher of Summer Rosé Sangria filled with red berries, let it chill overnight for the flavors to develop, and you have a delicious drink to offer your friends the minute they arrive. Simmer a pot of Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup, enjoy a bowl for lunch, and freeze the rest for a chilly evening. You can prep the kale, Brussels sprouts, and lemon vinaigrette for Winter Slaw ahead of time and simply toss them together before serving. Assemble French Chicken Pot Pies filled with artichokes and fresh tarragon a day in advance and then pop them in the oven half an hour before dinner. And for dessert, everyone needs the recipe for Ina’s Decadent (gluten-free!) Chocolate Cake topped with Make-Ahead Whipped Cream. Ina also includes recipes for the biggest cooking day of the year—Thanksgiving! Her Ultimate Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy with Onions & Sage may just change your life.
With beautiful photographs and hundreds of invaluable make-ahead tips, this is your new go-to guide for preparing meals that are stress-free yet filled with those fabulously satisfying flavors that you have come to expect from the Barefoot Contessa.
Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes and Easy Tips
Ina Garten, bestselling cookbook author and beloved star of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network, is back with her easiest recipes ever.
In Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? Ina proves once again that it doesn’t take complicated techniques, special equipment, or stops at more than one grocery store to make wonderful dishes for your family and friends. Her newest must-have cookbook is all about saving time and avoiding stress while having fun in the kitchen.
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: How to Get Great Flavors from Simple Ingredients
Ina Garten’s bestselling cookbooks have con-sistently provided accessible, subtly sophisticated recipes ranging from French classics made easy to delicious, simple home cooking. In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina truly breaks down her ideas on flavor, examining the ingredients and techniques that are the foundation of her easy, refined style.
Here Ina covers the essentials, from ten ways to boost the flavors of your ingredients to ten things not to serve at a party, as well as professional tips that make successful baking, cooking, and entertaining a breeze. The recipes—crowd-pleasers like Lobster Corn Chowder, Tuscan Lemon Chicken, and Easy Sticky Buns—demonstrate Ina’s talent for transforming fresh, easy-to-find ingredients into elegant meals you can make without stress.
Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home
Ina Garten—author of the bestsellers The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, and Barefoot Contessa Family Style—has traveled widely to talk about her books, and her adoring fans always ask for the same thing: more sophisticated recipes that are simple enough to make every day. Ina has taken their cue and assembled a collection of easy recipes inspired by classic French favorites in Barefoot in Paris.
Although she lives in New York, Ina admits that her heart belongs to Paris. After all, what’s more enticing than sipping café au lait and nibbling a warm brioche at a sidewalk table along the bustling Saint Germain? Or strolling through the city’s open-air markets in search of the perfect fromage for an easy weeknight soufflé? For Ina, these simple pleasures of Paris life translate into one cardinal rule of cooking: fresh, quality ingredients are the essence of good food. This is not elaborate haute cuisine á la Julia Child, but casual French fare that makes sense in American kitchens.
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