In 1978, Ina Garten was working in the White House Office of Management and Budget and decided she wanted to do something more creative—specifically, working with food. She opened a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons, a store celebrated both for its style and delicious food.
In 1996, Garten sold the store to two employees, built herself an office over the store and wrote her first cookbook. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook earned an overwhelming response from readers and paved the way for her Barefoot Contessa series (now totaling eight books) and a popular television show of the same name on Food Network.
Garten lives in East Hampton and Manhattan with her husband Jeffrey.