Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten Once Admitted She’s a Bit Lazy

Most people wouldn’t use the word “lazy” to describe Ina Garten. The 73-year-old’s a celebrity chef and Food Network star. The Barefoot Contessa films her cooking show from a “barn” but without taking her career to the next level, Garten fears she’d end up at home in East Hampton, New York, watching TV all day. 

Ina Garten’s been a cooking show host and author for nearly 20 years

Ina Garten speaks at the 2015 Forbes Women's Summit
Ina Garten | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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Garten’s hosted Barefoot Contessa since 2002. Although she’s never seen her show — Garten doesn’t watch herself on TV — it’s won (and been nominated for) multiple awards. According to IMDb, Garten won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host in 2010. And in 2018, Barefoot Contessa won a James Beard Award. 

Garten’s not just a TV personality. She’s a best-selling cookbook author. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook hit shelves in 1999. Ever since then Garten’s been releasing a new cookbook about every two years.

Then there’s her career before she became famous. Garten ran her own (now closed) specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa. She ran the business for nearly 20 years before selling it to two of her employees in 1996. Prior to that, she worked at the White House

The Barefoot Contessa worries she’d binge-watch ‘Law & Order’ if she weren’t ‘challenging’ herself

Garten took a Proust questionnaire as part of a 2016 Vanity Fair interview. Asked, “What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?” Garten replied she felt the need to keep pushing herself or she wouldn’t get much done. 

“I worry that if I don’t challenge myself professionally I’ll lie on the sofa and watch old episodes of Law & Order all day,” she said. 

Maybe she’s lazy at heart but Garten’s love of cooking wins out in the end. Her latest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, hit shelves in October 2020, and she’s still hosting Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa’s laziness is part of the reason why her food’s so simple

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Garten’s known for making uncomplicated but flavorful dishes. Turns out, her self-described laziness is the reason for it. In a September 2012 interview featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, the Barefoot Contessa said her laziness is “why I want things to be simple.”

Another reason for Garten’s simple recipes is so people can actually make them.

“I think that I had a very clear vision when I started writing cookbooks what I wanted it to be,” she once told PBS. “That you would open the book, that you would look at the photograph, and go, ‘That looks delicious.’” 

“And then you would look at the recipe and say, ‘I can actually make that, and I can make it with ingredients I can find at the grocery store,’” she added.

On top of that, Garten finds cooking difficult so she wants recipes to be as simple as possible.