‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Has 1 Easy Hack For the Perfect Romantic Dinner

Ina Garten loves to entertain. The Barefoot Contessa star not only cooks tasty recipes on her show, but she also gives viewers tips on how to host the perfect party, big or small. Though Garten enjoys entertaining a crowd, she also loves a sweet romantic dinner with her husband, Jeffrey Garten. And the Food Network star has one easy tip — plus a few others to keep in mind — for nailing that perfect romantic dinner.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten married her husband, Jeffrey Garten, in 1968

Garten met the love of her life when she was only 15. She’d been up at Dartmouth College paying her brother a visit, when Jeffrey actually spotted her from a distance. It turns out Jeffrey’s friend had planned to go on a date with Garten, but when thing didn’t work out, Jeffrey made his move.

Garten and Jeffrey went on their first date several months later, and sparks flew instantly. The two ended up dating for five years, but that might have only been because Garten was so young when they met. By the time she was 20, she was ready to marry the man of her dreams. According to Insider, the couple tied the knot in a backyard wedding at Garten’s parents’ house in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1968. 

Ina Garten smiles with her husband, Jeffrey Garten, in 2012
Ina Garten smiles with her husband, Jeffrey Garten, in 2012 | Jim Spellman/WireImage

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Ina Garten’s best tip for the perfect romantic dinner

When it comes to setting up a romantic evening, Garten’s biggest tip is to focus on the person, not the meal. “That’s when you really connect — over a really nice, simple dinner rather than a fancy dinner that’s meant to impress people,” Garten said in an interview with The Kitchn. “The key is to make something so when you’re done with dinner, you can still be present for the people who are there — that’s what makes them feel special.” Garten’s idea of a simple menu could include something such as her easy roast chicken dish.

Garten has since featured Jeffrey on her show plenty of times, and anyone who knows her knows that she still appears to have just as much love for him as she did nearly 60 years ago. Garten loves to entertain, but she also loves to plan a sweet date night with her man.

Ina Garten has a few other tricks for nailing the romance on date night

Garten’s cookbook offers plenty of ideas for setting up the perfect night. Dress up the table to reflect the mood: Linen napkins, candles, and flowers. It doesn’t need to be anything too over the top. Plus, cooking dinner together — or cleaning together afterward — can be just as romantic as eating the meal.

Finally, Garten says to turn off the electronics and be present with your date. Oh, and treat every sit-down dinner as a gift. “Any night at home is special,” Garten told The Kitchn. “I think just making dinner … It’s a real gift to someone you care about.”