I’m an even less enthusiastic cook than Aileen, but for some reason, I love watching cooking shows. I find them soothing and have learned a great deal about basic cooking techniques. As a result, my cooking has gone from dreadful to slightly above mediocre. Hooray! This Katie Couric interview with Barefoot Contessa is a great place to start in getting to know one of America’s friendliest celebrity chefs.
Ina Garten has always been one of my favorite TV chefs to watch. She’s friendly and poised and her recipes are always simple, but elegant. Much like Aileen, when I want to make a dish to impress, I always turn to Ina and she never disappoints.
I never took the time to learn more about the woman behind the Barefoot Contessa empire, until I listened to Katie Couric’s podcast from April 2017. She interviews Ina on Easter Sunday, in Ina’s home. It turns out that Ina Garten is a total badass.
I was mind blown to learn that she worked in the Office of Management and Budget and wrote nuclear energy budget and policy for the White House. When she found the work to be unfulfilling, she sought a different career choice, which led her to buy the Barefoot Contessa market, write cookbooks and become an icon on the Food Network.
When pressed by Katie about this dramatic career change, Ina explained that her job in the White House required her to dress in uncomfortable business attire, when what she really wanted, was a career where she could wear comfortable sneakers, or better yet, slippers. She is one smart cookie.
Ina spoke comfortably and easily about her admirable marriage, her decision not to have children, feminism and her support of Planned Parenthood’s important work, all while whipping up slow cooked scrambled eggs with truffle butter on brioche toast.
My favorite part of the interview was Ina’s sage advice not to fight the system, but to create your own. She said, “the only way to design my own future was to do it myself.” Brilliant.