In 1978, Ina Garten found herself working in the White House on nuclear energy policy and thinking, "There's got to be more to life than this!" She saw an ad for a small food store for sale in a place she'd never been - East Hampton, located at the end of Long Island. She and her husband drove up to investigate and made the owner an offer on the spot. Two months later she found herself the owner of Barefoot Contessa, a 400-sq.-ft. specialty food store with employees.

Twenty years later, Barefoot Contessa grew to a 3,000-sq.-ft. food emporium where 20 cooks and bakers prepared the food, while 25 more employees worked in the store helping thousands of customers to choose breads, salads, dinners, and baked goods to take home. In 2001, Ina sold the store to her employees, but she continues her association with Barefoot Contessa in a variety of ways.

In 1999, Ina wrote her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which was one of the best selling cookbooks of the year. The book shares the recipes that made her specialty food store a success. In 2001, Ina followed with best-selling Barefoot Contessa Parties!, in which she invites readers into her home and shares her ideas and recipes for having parties that are fun for all -- including the host. Her follow-up cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, contains easy recipes to make everyone feel like family. In 2004, Ina published her fourth book, Barefoot in Paris, in which she reinvents the classics of French cuisine, looking to her favorite spots in Paris to inspire an all-new collection of easy-to-prepare bistro fare.

Ina’s popluar TV series, Barefoot Contessa, airs regularly on the Food Network. She has also been a columnist for Martha Stewart Living Magazine and her food and entertaining are regularly featured in O, the Oprah magazine. Ina lives in East Hampton, New York and Southport, Connecticut with her husband Jeffrey, who is Dean of the Yale School of Management.