‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Reveals the 1 Best Piece of Advice Jeffrey Gave Her In the Beginning

Food Network star Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame isn’t like all the other hosts on the network. For one thing, she never dreamed of becoming a famous chef and cookbook author. The 73-year-old foodie had a successful career in finance long before she became America’s favorite Food Network host and probably could have done that forever. But fate had other plans.

Garten’s sweet relationship with her husband, Jeffrey, is well-known to fans. And it turns out he’s the one who helped inspire her to follow her passion and become the Barefoot Contessa.

We’re all enjoying Garten’s special recipes thanks to one crucial piece of advice from Jeffrey.

Ina Garten took a chance and bought a retail store

Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Opening Night Gala
Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Before she ever started mincing garlic for a crowd, Garten spent time working at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Ford and Carter administrations. At that point in her life, Garten had no plans on translating her financial savvy and self-described Type A personality into a new career path.

Then the opportunity of a lifetime came along. While perusing the weekly newspaper, Garten came across an ad for a specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa that was up for sale. It seemed like a risky proposition, but with her husband’s sound advice, the future foodie decided to make it happen.

Jeffrey encouraged ‘Barefoot Contessa’ to take a risk

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Garten’s been given tons of great advice throughout the course of her career. But she said her favorite words of wisdom came courtesy of her husband Jeffrey way back when she was thinking about making a huge life change.

The best-selling author said that while she was nervous about taking the leap, her husband helped soothe her anxieties. “Jeffrey said, ‘If you love it, you’ll be really good at it,'” she said during an interview about her latest cookbook Modern Comfort Food, Delish reported. “And that’s the best advice anybody ever gave me.”

The Barefoot Contessa store eventually led to the Food Network

Making the decision to buy the store was one thing. Running it, however, was a different kind of commitment.

“Honestly, the first month I was there I thought, ‘This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life,'” Garten said during the interview. “I’d never been in the food business, I didn’t know how to do anything. But Jeffrey said, ‘If you could do it in the first week, you’d be bored in the second week.”‘

Luckily for all her fans, Garten kept at it and eventually developed her own recipes and cooking techniques. Her natural abilities in the kitchen coupled with her friendly, accessible personality eventually led to the creation of a hit series on Food Network and dozens of cookbooks.

Garten should take credit for her own success. But in a way, Jeffrey is partially responsible for giving her the confidence to take that first leap and purchase the specialty food shop that would change her life.