a night with the barefoot contessa

barefoot contessa

Last week I paid a premium price to go see Ina Garten, otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa, speak here in Washington, DC. But it was worth it bad seat and all.  She’s every bit as nice as she seems on her show. The format was just she and an interviewer on stage with two chairs and a bunch of flowers. As simple as it gets.

We learned a lot about her, her show, her business ventures, and then some. Here are the top 10 things that I took away from the evening:

10.  Ina started her professional life in Washington DC writing Nuclear Policy. On the side, she bought and renovated houses and entertained regularly. Looks like that side of her won out in the end.

9.  Both her and her husband were private pilots long ago. Not quite as down to earth as you thought she was, huh?

8.  This famous cookbook author and cooking show host, doesn’t cook for herself. The only personal cooking she really does is a roast chicken for her husband every Friday night.

7.  Her and I share the same list of favorite restaurants:  Zuni Café in San Francisco, Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, Jean Georges in NYC

6.  The Barefoot Contessa show is filmed over two, one-month periods each year, 10 episodes at a time.

5.  According to Ina, all it takes to stock a working home kitchen is:  good knives (Ina prefers Wustof), professional half-sheet pans and good pots and pans (she uses All Clad and Le Crueset). No she doesn’t get paid by these companies – she does NO endorsements.

4.  Come April, she will be adding oven dinners to her successful line up of frozen meals including favorites like Meatloaf, 40 Garlic chicken, Parmesan Polenta and more . .

3.  Her new cookbook coming out soon is titled, Barefoot Contessa Make Ahead. As a sneak peak treat she posted one of the recipes on her Facebook page in the days following her appearance. Make ahead Zabaglione with Amaretti

2.  Continually letting her husband know that he is most important person in her life, is the key to her successful marriage of 45 years. We could all learn a little lesson from this.

And the number one thing I learned about Ina Garten is that she is a driven woman. Her success is no fluke. She works hard. She demands perfection. And when something gets in her way, she pushes it aside by her own admission. Not something you would expect from this mild mannered woman. But secretly, I love that!

images & recipe courtesy barefootcontessa.com

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