Writer Ina Garten - Biography

November 2011

She might have started off working in the White House Office of Management and Budget—about as far away from a food career as you can get—but today Ina Garten’s name is synonymous with the Barefoot Contessa. But it’s no mistake; Garten realized fairly quickly how little creativity was of need among the Management and Budget crew, so she set out in search of something better suited. She found it in the form of her now famous specialty store in East Hampton. And like the 1950s Bogart and Gardner film which inspired the name, the Barefoot Contessa is a classic.

It’s no surprise that Garten’s found success in the store, cookbooks, and TV that followed. Garten has a knack for creating homey but elegant recipes for all occasions, from a simple bistro dinner for two to a fabulous and fun clambake for 20. After putting almost 20 years of her life into the store, Garten sold it to two worthy employees and set off on the next leg of her culinary adventure, starting with The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook . When the book got such a strong (and positive!) response from readers, demand for another book was high. Garten followed with a series of wildly popular Barefoot Contessa books including Barefoot in Paris, Barefoot Contessa at Home, and Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, the latest in the series. When the books spawned a television series, Garten’s Contessa alter-ego was solidified a national audience. Her latest book, How Easy Is That? And with a line of products (under the banner Barefoot Contessa Pantry) and new shows in the works, it’s likely Garten and the Contessa will be inextricably—and lucratively—linked for years and years to come.