Pink Fire Pointer A Barefoot Contessa Week

A Barefoot Contessa Week

Ina Garten was in town this week to promote her newest cookbook Foolproof.  The title could actually be applied to all of her cookbooks (there are now a total of eight) because her recipes are always foolproof and this is probably the distinctive feature that makes her books so popular.  The recipes work so well!  After attending a fabulous event last night here in Los Angeles -- she was interviewed by KCRW's Evan Kleiman at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre -- I can think of two other adjectives that define Ina Garten's success:  elegant and earthy.  She mentioned those two words herself when she explained why she decided to keep the title Barefoot Contessa (she actually inherited it from the previous owner of the East Hampton specialty food store where her culinary career began) as her trademark name.  As she told an audience of about 1,000 enthusiastic fans, "To me it is all about elegance and earthiness."

And that is the perfect way to describe her personality as we saw it onstage last night at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Ina Garten is bright, elegant, funny, sophisticated, and down to earth.  The key to her success is that she is the kind of person that everyone can relate to.  She is also the opposite of a fussy cook.  She is just like most of us who are not professional chefs and get a little nervous about entertaining: she makes a cooking schedule when she entertains to alleviate unnecessary stress, doesn't ever try a new recipe on her guests before cooking it first, doesn't like to buy fancy equipment, and prefers recipes whose ingredients can all be purchased at the supermarket.  These are ideas that resonate with home cooks.

"Barefoot Contessa Foolproof" is Ina Garten's eighth cookbook

She came to Los Angeles on Thursday to sign her new cookbook.  Here she is at Williams-Sonoma in Santa Monica. 

The night before the book signing, the store held a cooking class which I attended.  The demonstration class included three recipes from Ina's new cookbook:

Balsamic roasted beet salad

Chicken with wild mushrooms

Salted caramel brownies

They were all delicious and easy dishes you will definitely want to make!


At last night's event at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Evan Kleiman asked Ina questions that members of the audience had submitted.  We all laughed when Evan told Ina that there was an abundance of  questions about Jeffrey, Ina's husband.  Ina said that if she was hit by a bus, there would be millions of women across the country lining up to bring him roast chicken.  She told us stories about her culinary beginnings and how her love of cooking grew into eight cookbooks and a very popular television show.  These stories are already known to many of us through her cookbooks.  But we learned a few new facts last night:

Her favorite soundtrack to play during her dinner parties is a series of CDs called Hotel Costes
Her favorite skin cream is Roc
She never cooks just for herself; she believes cooking is all about sharing
She got the design ideas for her cookbooks from her travels
The new season of her television show will be premiering in January, 2013 and will feature episodes filmed in Napa and San Francisco

Image via here

We all left the event excited to try the recipes in Ina's newest cookbook and inspired to keep our cooking simple, earthy, elegant, and straight forward.  Just like Ina!