- Ina Garten
name = Ina Garten
caption = Ina Garten at a San Francisco book signing.
birthdate = Birth date and age|1948|2|2|mf=y
Brooklyn, New York
Syracuse University* George Washington University
restaurants = Barefoot Contessa Fine Foods**
television = "
footnotes = *Did not graduate
**Gourmet market, now closed
Ina Rosenberg Garten (born February 2, 1948) is an American author and host. She also hosts the
Food Networkprogram " Barefoot Contessa". Known for creating fine cuisine foods with an emphasis on quality ingredients and timesaving tips, she has been championed by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Patricia Wellsas an authority on cooking and home entertaining.
Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary techniques with the aid of French and New England cookbooks. Later, she relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends to refine her recipes. She was mentored chiefly by
Eli Zabar, of Eli's Manhattan and Eli's Breads fame, and domestic mavenStewart. Among her hallmark dishes are "cœur à la crème", celery root remoulade, pear clafouti, and a simplified version of "bœuf bourguignon". Her culinary career began with her gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa; Garten parlayed this success into a string of best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded convenience foods, and a popular Food Networktelevision show.
The consistent use of the original store name through Garten's books, television show, and product line has led fans to refer to her as simply "the Contessa".
Early history and career
Born Ina Rosenberg in
Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, Garten was one of two children born to Charles H. Rosenberg, a surgeon specializing in otolaryngology, and his wife, Florence.Dobnik, Verena (2005). "The Barefoot Contessa Lives Her Dream Life." "The Shreveport Times."] Strongly encouraged to excel in school, she showed an aptitude for scienceand often won top honors in local science fairs. Garten's mother, an intellectual with an interest in opera, refused her daughter's requests to assist her in the kitchen and instead directed her to concentrate on schoolwork. Garten described her father as a lively individual with many friends, and has commented that she shares more characteristics with him than with her mother.Network, Food (2006). "Ina." "Chefography." The E.W. Scripps Company.] At 15, she met her future husband, Jeffrey Garten, on a trip to visit her brother at Dartmouth College. After a year of exchanging letters, they began dating. After high school, she attended Syracuse Universitywith plans to study fashion design, but chose to change her major to economics. Shortly thereafter, she postponed her educational pursuits to marry.
On December 22, 1968, Rosenberg and Garten were married in Stamford, and soon relocated to
Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She began to dabble in cooking and entertaining in an effort to occupy her time while her husband served his four-year military tour as a paratrooperduring the Vietnam War; she also acquired her pilot's license, according to an interview she gave to the "Raleigh News & Observer". [Susan Houston, "How Ina Garten Grows", "Raleigh News & Observer", November 22, 2006, page E-1] After completing his tour, the couple journeyed to Paris, France, for a four-month camping vacation that Garten has described as the birth of her love for French cuisine. During this trip, she experienced open-air markets, produce stands, and fresh cooking ingredients for the first time.Garten, Ina (2004). "Barefoot in Paris". Clarkson Potter. ISBN 1-4000-4935-0.] Upon returning to the U.S., she began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child's seminal cookbook, " Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Her weekly dinner party tradition began taking shape during this time, and she refined her home entertaining skills when she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972.
In Washington, Garten worked in the
White Houseand took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA, [Enid Nemy, "Exchanging Standard Careers for Dreams", "The New York Times", August 7, 1981] while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. Originally employed as a low-level government aide, she climbed the political ladder and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energybudget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for then-Presidents Gerald Fordand Jimmy Carter.Seymour, Liz (2004). "Entertaining Barefoot." "The Washington Post."] [cite web
last = Smith
first = Christopher Monte
year = 2001
url = http://www.booksense.com/people/archive/gartenina.jsp
title = "Very Interesting People: Ina Garten."
work = BookSense.com
publisher = Book Sense, Inc
accessdate = 2006-03-28
accessyear = ]
Strained by the pressures of her work and the serious, high-power setting of Washington, Garten once again turned to cooking and entertaining in her free time, constantly arranging dinner parties and soirées at her home on the weekends. Meanwhile, she was buying, refurbishing, and reselling homes for profit ("
flipping") in the Dupont Circleand Kalorama neighborhoods. The funds from these sales gave Garten the means to make her next purchase, the Barefoot Contessa specialty food emporium.
Barefoot Contessa store
Garten left her government job in 1978 after spotting an ad for a convert|400|sqft|m2|sing=on specialty food store in
Westhampton Beach, New York. The store was named Barefoot Contessa. "My job in Washington was intellectually exciting and stimulating but it wasn't me at all," she told " The New York Times" four years later. [Enid Nemy, "Exchanging Standard Careers for Dreams", "The New York Times", August 7, 1981, page 4:2] She made a hasty decision to purchase the store after traveling to view it, and moved to New York to assume ownership and management. The store had been named by its original owner in tribute to the 1954 film starring Ava Gardner; Garten kept the name when she took over, as it meshed well with her idea of an "elegant but earthy" lifestyle. [cite web
last = Garten
first = Ina
year = 2006
url = http://www.barefootcontessa.com/qna.html#about
title = "Q & A."
work = Barefoot Contessa Online
accessdate = 2006-04-06
accessyear = ] (As of|2006, Garten has not seen the film. [Bill Ward, "At Home with the Cookbook Contessa", "Minneapolis Star Tribune", November 30, 2006, page 1T] )
After a month of training with the original owner, she took over full ownership and management of the shop. Barefoot Contessa became extremely successful in short order, bolstered by Garten's sophisticated but simple dishes, her self-branded line of gourmet
coffees (manufactured by Eli Zabar), and party catering services.
While doing much of the cooking herself, she employed local chefs and bakers as the business grew, including
Anna Pump(who later established the Loaves & Fishes bakery and Bridgehampton Inn). Within a year, she had moved Barefoot Contessa across the street from its original location to a larger property. However, it soon outgrew this new location; in 1985, she relocated the store to the newly-vacated premises of gourmet shop Dean & DeLucain the prosperous Long Islandvillage of East Hampton. East Hampton was a year-round community in contrast to Westhampton's beach season atmosphere, and provided a larger, wealthier demographic.
At East Hampton, she expanded the emporium from its original convert|400|sqft|m2 to over convert|3000|sqft|m2, over seven times its original size. In this new, larger space, the store specialized in delicacies such as lobster
Cobb salad, caviar, imported cheeses, and locally grown produce. The store quickly became a landmark gathering place for the affluent New York town, to such a point that, in 2003, director Nancy Meyerschose to use the store as one of the settings for the Jack Nicholson- Diane Keatonfilm "Something's Gotta Give". [Katz, Carissa (2003). "Something Was Filmed In The Hamptons." "East Hampton Star."] The shop was also praised in the press by celebrity clientele such as Steven Spielbergand Lauren Bacall. In 1996, after two decades of owning and operating, Garten again found herself seeking a change; she sold the store to two employees, Amy Forst and Parker Hodges. Unsure of what career step to take after selling the store, she took a six-month sabbaticalfrom the culinary scene and built offices above the shop. There, she studied the stock marketand attempted to sketch out plans for potential business ventures. Her website, Barefoot Contessa, became high-profile at this time as she began offering her coffees and a few other items for purchase online.
The store was permanently closed in 2004, when the lease expired on the property and negotiations failed between Garten (the owner of the building in which Barefoot Contessa was housed) and the new owners. [Rosenbaum, Susan (2003). "Barefoot Contessa Store Is No More." "East Hampton Star."] It has been reported that her refusal to meet lease negotiations was actually a method of reclaiming control of the store after Forst and Hodges lost business to Citarella, a new competitor. [Schoeneman, Deborah (2003). "Muffin Meltdown! Contessa Closes." "New York Magazine."] Ultimately, she did not reopen the shop, and instead retained the property for potential new tenants.
Barefoot Contessa cookbooks
Under the guidance of Missus Pants and her advisor Roxie Boxer, Garten reemerged in 1999 with her attention turned to the publishing industry. She carried on with the Barefoot Contessa name in her 1999 sleeper bestseller, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook". Filled with the recipes that made her store successful, the book far exceeded both Garten's and publisher Clarkson Potter's expectations. After an initial pressing of 35,000 copies, a typical number for a debut
cookbook, it immediately required second and third print runs and eventually sold over 100,000 copies in its first year. [Trends, Publishing (2000). "Chefs Shake Up Cookbook Market." "Publishing Trends."] In 2001, she capitalized on her new-found fame and released "Barefoot Contessa Parties!", which also produced high sales and garnered good reviews, and followed this with "Barefoot Contessa Family Style" in 2002. "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" and "Parties!" were nominated for 2000 and 2002 James Beard Awards, in the Entertaining & Special Occasion Cookbooks category. "Parties!" was a surprise entry, as she was considered inexperienced and untrained to compete with fellow nominees, revered French chef Jacques Pépinand international wine expert Brian St. Pierre.
Her cookbooks depart from the usual encyclopedic format most culinary tomes follow, and are instead modeled after
coffee table books. Filled with color photography, with a facing full-page picture for each recipe, detractors sometimes criticize this method as it leaves less room for recipes, particularly at the comparatively steep MSRP of $35 each. Nevertheless, her cookbooks have received overall positive reviews; fellow chef Giada De Laurentiisrecently named Garten as one of her favorite authors. [Sagon, Candy (2005). [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/19/AR2005041903200.html "The Food Network's Latest It Girl."] "The Washington Post."] As of|2004, Garten's first three cookbooks have sold over 1 million copies combined. [Weinraub, Judith (2004). "Bistro Cooking, by Degrees." "The Washington Post."] She has now published a total of five cookbooks, adding "Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home" (2004) and "Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again" (2006).
"Barefoot Contessa" on Food Network
After the success of "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" and "Barefoot Contessa Parties!", Garten was approached by
Food Networkwith an offer to host her own television cooking show. She rejected this proposal several times, until the London-based production company responsible for the popular "Nigella Bites" was assigned to the deal. She acquiesced to a 13-show season, and "Barefoot Contessa" premiered in 2002 to a positive reception. The program focuses on hearty, guest-oriented food, and Food Network found a popular hostess in the "calm, Rubenesque" Garten. [cite web | last = Greenberg | first = Doni | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url = http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:HnMkeACl2SYJ:www.redding.com/redd/fe_columnists/article/0,2232,REDD_17501_4378453,00.html+ina+garten+calm&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=10&lr=lang_en | title = "Dishing It Out." (Google cache) | work = Redding.com | publisher = | accessdate = 2006-04-06 | accessyear = ] The press began comparing her television presence to that of her mentor, Martha Stewart, but with a softer edge and more nurturing, comforting manner. "Barefoot Contessa" has approximately 1 million viewers tuned in per episode, and has posted some of Food Network's highest ratings. [cite web | last = Network | first = Food | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url = http://foodnetworkadsales.com/programming/programming_show.asp?id=73 | title = "Barefoot Contessa." | work = Food Network Ad Sales Programming | publisher = Scripps Network, Inc | accessdate = 2006-03-30 | accessyear = ] In 2005, the show was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Awardin the category of Best Service Show. [cite web | last = Hall | first = Sarah | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2005 | url = http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,16035,00.html?newsrellink | title = "Martha's Jailtime Emmy Noms." | work = E! Online News | publisher = E! Entertainment Television, Inc | accessdate = 2006-03-28 | accessyear = ]
Barefoot Contessa Pantry
In 2006, Garten launched her own line of packaged mixes,
marinades, sauces, and preserves, branded as Barefoot Contessa Pantry, in conjunction with Stonewall Kitchen. These convenience foods are based on her most popular from-scratch recipes, such as coconut cupcakes, maple oatmeal scones, mango chutney, and lemon curd. Pricing of these items is comparatively expensive (for example, the suggested retail price for a single box of brownie mix is ten dollars) and they are only sold through upscale cookware and gourmet shops such as Crate & Barrel, Sur La Table, and Chicago's Fox & Obel Market Cafe. She plans to expand this brand in the near future if the first line of products is very successful.Maynard, Micheline (2007). "Barefoot Entrepreneur." "The Providence Journal."]
Influences and rise to fame
Martha Stewart and Eli Zabar
Stewart played a large role in the early development of Garten's career, championing her store, recipes, and home "décor", going as far as to feature both Garten's home and one of her bakery confections on 1998 and 2001 covers of her popular magazine, "
Martha Stewart Living". After years of being friends and co-workers, however, the two women became bitter rivals when Stewart attempted to take credit for one of Garten's recipes. They have reportedly mended their relationship; Stewart wrote a foreword for "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook", and Garten penned several columns on entertaining and cooking for Stewart's magazine. Stewart's sister, Laura Plimpton, has also been featured as a party guest on "Barefoot Contessa".
Garten has credited
Eli Zabarwith the inspiration of her main cooking method, in which "all you have to do is cook to enhance the ingredients." [Witchel, Alex (2001). "How Difficult Is Simple?" "The New York Times."] Under his tutelage, she refined her signature style of using high quality ingredients to reinvent and simplify classic recipes, with an emphasis on the natural flavors of foods. Zabar is famed for his gourmet market, bakery, and restaurants on New York City's Upper West Side, along with his rooftop greenhouse gardening design. He often is seen as a guest on Garten's Food Network show. She frequently recommends his baked goods and produce to her viewers and has filmed a segment on location at his flagship store, Eli's Vinegar Factory. Throughout her cookbooks, she promotes his retail products and has even included her take on some of Zabar's most popular recipes, such as shortbreadcookies.
Road to stardom
In 1997, celebrity chefs and television cooking shows began to rise in popularity, driven in part by the high-profile success of
Emeril Lagasseand his " Emeril Live". Around this time, Food Network began capitalizing on the renewed interest in gourmet foods and cooking, and extended its reach with new shows and tie-in products. Martha Stewart also launched her television shows and accompanying magazines, cookbooks, and product lines. Periodicals such as "Gourmet" and " Bon Appétit" saw a dramatic increase in subscriptions at this time. In this wave of renewed food appreciation, Garten quietly established herself with her cookbooks and appearances on Stewart's show, and then moved into the forefront in 2002 with the debut of her Food Network program.
When Stewart was incarcerated in 2004 on charges connected with
obstruction of justicein a stock trading case, the press began singling out Garten as the rising "grande dame" of the domestic arts. [cite web | last = Dickerman | first = Sara | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2003 | url = http://www.slate.com/id/2086544/ | title = "Move Over, Martha." | work = Slate | publisher = Newsweek Interactive Co | accessdate = 2006-03-28 | accessyear = ] After much critical acclaim and high sales of her first three cookbooks, she went on to write the best-selling "Barefoot in Paris" and several columns for " O, The Oprah Magazine". She also serves as the entertaining, cooking, and party planning consultant for the magazine. " House Beautiful", a shelter magazine, features a monthly Garten column entitled "Ask the Barefoot Contessa." In this column, she doles out cooking, entertaining, and lifestyle tips in response to letters sent in by her readers. [cite web | last = Garten | first = Ina | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url = http://magazines.ivillage.com/housebeautiful/entertain/hbent/articles/0,,284685_689816,00.html | title = "Ask the Barefoot Contessa." | work = House Beautiful | publisher = Hearst Communications, Inc | accessdate = 2006-03-28 | accessyear = ] She launched a small line of note cards and journals to complement her books, and wrote the forewords for Kathleen King's "Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook" and Rori Trovato's "Dishing With Style". One of her signature recipes, lemon roast chicken with croutons, was featured in "The Best American Recipes 2005–2006". Another of Garten's dishes was selected for "Today's Kitchen Cookbook", a compilation of the most popular recipes featured on the daily news program "The Today Show".
In 2005, she announced that she had signed a three-year contract with Food Network to continue her cooking show, and will release two more cookbooks following "Barefoot Contessa at Home". Garten was reportedly awarded the most lucrative contract for a culinary author to date, signing a multimillion dollar deal for multiple books. [Danford, Natalie (2005). "Video Made the Cookbook Star." "Publishers Weekly."] She has also been approached several times to develop her own branded magazine, line of furniture, set of signature cookware, and chain of boutiques (reminiscent of Stewart's Omnimedia), but has declined these offers, stating she has no interest in further complicating her life. Between 2004 and 2005, "Barefoot in Paris" sold almost 400,000 copies and rose to the #11 slot on the
New York Times bestseller list. [Maryles, Daisy (2005). "No Room at the Top." "Publishers Weekly."]
Her sporadic public appearances and book signings usually command large audiences, with her signings (usually held in upscale bookstores or cookware shops) garnering crowds of 500 or more. When she launched her Barefoot Contessa Pantry product line in early 2006, the projected turnout was 300 people for the small Fox & Obel Market. Instead, close to 2,000 fans appeared hoping to sample the new line and meet briefly with Garten. In October 2006, Garten launched a book tour of 13 states in support of "Barefoot Contessa at Home", her most expansive publicity effort to date.
Politics and opinions
Garten served as hostess of the 16th Annual Hudson Peconic benefit for
Planned Parenthood, an organization focused on reproductive issues and women's health. Some consider Garten to be a gay icon, as her Food Network show frequently features appearances by her openly gay friends and their partners. Though she has made no explicit statement regarding gay rightsor the gay communityin general, she did write in one of her books:
"...we all know that families now aren't necessarily like Ozzie and Harriet (it turns out Ozzie and Harriet's family wasn't all Ozzie and Harriet)... family has a traditional context, but today it's not as simple as two parents with 2.3 kids... it's about relationships... it's about people who are bound together by love and a sense of being responsible for one another... it's spouses with no children, like Jeffrey and me... it's a group of women who meet to cook dinner together once a month... it's a one-parent family with adopted children... it's two men who've made a life together... at the end of the day, all we have is love... getting love, but even more, feeling love..." [Garten, Ina (2002). "Barefoot Contessa Family Style". Clarkson Potter. ISBN 0-609-61066-X.]
Registered in New York as a Democrat, Garten has contributed to the presidential campaign funds of
George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry. [cite web | last = Commission | first = Federal Election | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url = http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Ina_Garten.php | title = "Celebrity Federal Campaign Contributions: Ina Garten." | work = Newsmeat | publisher = Polity Media, Inc | accessdate = 2006-03-28 | accessyear = ]
Garten also sits on the Design Review Board for East Hampton, a panel that grants building permissions and approves architectural and design elements of the village. The board seeks to protect the historical district and further the overall
aestheticsof the area. [Rosenbaum, Susan (1997). "Built First, Now Approved." "East Hampton Star."]
Family, religion, and marriage
Garten is known to guard her privacy closely, giving few interviews and declining to take part in Food Network charities and activities. Her family of origin is shielded almost completely from the spotlight; unlike her friends and colleagues, they are not featured on "Barefoot Contessa". However, her road to fame and personal life were recently explored in the Food Network series "
Chefography", an hour-long documentary similar to the A&E program "Biography". The show featured candid interviews with her husband, close friends, and former clients. No members of her family of origin were interviewed for "Chefography".
Jewish by birth and heritage, as is her husband, but rarely refers to her religion and ethnicity. It is showcased only through the inclusion of classic Jewish cooking in her television show and cookbooks, when she makes such dishes as rugelach, challah, and brisket. The level of influence that her Judaismplays in her life is unclear, although it is known that she does not keep kosher.
Jeffrey Garten, went on to become the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade and dean of the Yale School of Management. He is now the Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Finance, and Business at Yale. He can also frequently be spotted on her cooking show, assisting his wife with menial tasks or sampling the dishes she has created. They divide their time between Manhattan, East Hampton, and Paris.
*"The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" (1999)
*"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" (2008)
*"Entertaining is Fun!" ("
Martha Stewart Living" 1999–present)
O, The Oprah Magazine" 2003–present)
*"Ask the Barefoot Contessa." ("
House Beautiful" 2006–present)
*"From Martha's Kitchen: Ina Garten's Kitchen Clambake" (2000)
Barefoot Contessa" (2002–present)
*Druckman, Charlotte (2004). "Entertaining Ina Garten." "Food and Wine Magazine."
*Garten, Ina & Stewart, Martha (1999). "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook". Clarkson Potter. ISBN 0-609-60219-5.
*Garten, Ina (2001). "Barefoot Contessa Parties!" Clarkson Potter. ISBN 0-609-60644-1.
last = Garten
first = Ina
year = 2006
url = http://barefootcontessa.com/about.html
title = "About Ina."
work = Barefoot Contessa Online
accessdate = 2006-03-28
*Gershenson, Gabriella (2006). "The Art of Food Porn: Getting Off Without Getting Fat." "New York Press."
*Hale-Shelton, Debra (2003). "Contessa Says, Keep It Simple." "Cincinnati Post."
*Katz, Carissa (2005). "Ina Garten: The Barefoot Contessa." "East Hampton Star."
*Network, Food (2006). "Barefoot Contessa." The E.W. Scripps Company.
*Snipes, Stephanie (2004). "Barefoot Contessa Keeps It Simple." CNN.
*Thomas, Cathy (2004). "Simply Marvelous." "Orange County Register."
* [http://www.barefootcontessa.com "Barefoot Contessa" Official Site]
* [http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/hosts_celebrity_chefs/article/0,1974,FOOD_9889_1841623,00.html "Barefoot Contessa" on The Food Network]
* [http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/swk_barefoot_lp.asp Barefoot Contessa Pantry at Stonewall Kitchen]
* [http://magazines.ivillage.com/housebeautiful/entertain/hbent/articles/0,,284685_689816,00.html Ask the Barefoot Contessa in House Beautiful]
* [http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_25938,00.html Beef Bourguignon recipe on The Food Network]
* [http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_32262,00.htm Celery Root Remoulade recipe on The Food Network]
* [http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_30281,00.html Cœur à la Crème recipe on The Food Network]
* [http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_31682,00.html Pear Clafouti recipe on The Food Network]
NAME = Garten, Ina Rosenberg
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American author and television presenter
DATE OF BIRTH = February 2, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH =
Brooklyn, New York
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =
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