Saturday, June 10, 2023

The interesting story of Ina Garten

Ina Garten has become a living legend in the culinary world and is a true inspiration to female home chefs and professional chefs, everywhere! But, what do we really know about her?

Getting to know Ina Garten before Barefoot Contessa

Ina was born in Brooklyn, New York to the Rosenberg family. She was encouraged to focus on her studies rather than helping her mother in the kitchen. She would meet her future husband (Jeffery Garten) at the age of 25 while visiting her older brother at Dartmouth College. When she graduated high school she pursued continuing her education at Syracuse University but not before marrying Jeffery.

After they married in 1968, Ina and Jeffrey relocated to Fort Bragg and Jeffery began his four-year service in the Vietnam War. It was during this time that Ina began to experiment with cooking. She also began entertaining and even got her pilot’s license. Her cooking experience grew during their four-month stay in Paris. Ina loved to study Julia Child and practice the recipes in her cookbooks.

In 1972 Ina and Jeffrey moved to Washington, D.C. where they began new careers. He worked at the State Department and she worked at the White House. Ina worked her way up the political ladder from government aide to eventually working for the office of Management and Budgets. She even helped write the budgets for nuclear energy under President Ford and President Carter. Ina was unsatisfied by tho work and began flipping houses. The money she made by flipping houses helped jump-start the career that would change the course of the rest of her life!

Ina Garten
Therealbs2002 / CC BY-SA (

Ina Garten becomes the Barefoot Contessa

In 1978 a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa located in Westhampton Beach, New York was put up for sale. Ina got wind of this and decided to check it out. It didn’t take long after arriving at the store for Ina to fall in love and by the business. Barefoot Contessa grew in popularity rapidly and Ina had to move it to several larger properties to try to accommodate the demand.

In 1996 Ina Garten decided to sell the business to two of her employees, though she continued to own the building itself. She also continued her assumed title as the Barefoot Contessa and does so even to this day.

In 1999, Ina released a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The popularity of the cookbook exploded. Her cookbooks led to television appearances on the Food Network and eventually, Ina snagged her own cooking show on the network, The Barefoot Contessa, in 2002.

The Food Network television show led to the Barefoot Contessa Pantry in 2006 which consisted of prepackaged cake mixes and other pantry items featuring Ina’s brand. Ina Garten and Jeffrey continue to live, love, and cook together even to this day. In fact, Ina now films her cooking show from a separate house on her home property. Jeffrey frequently makes his appearance on the show as a helpful hand or a guinea pig for tasting her recipes.

The interesting story of Ina Garten

According to

Ina’s 11 cookbooks include the following:

  • The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (1999), Clarkson Potter
  • Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes For Easy Parties That Are Really Fun (2001)
  • Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family (2002)
  • Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home (2004)
  • Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again (2006)
  • Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients Clarkson Potter. 2008
  • Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? Clarkson Potter. 2010
  • Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Clarkson Potter. 2012
  • Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Clarkson Potter. 2014
  • Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Clarkson Potter. 2016.
  • Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks. Clarkson Potter. 2018

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Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!


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