Ina Garten Admits She’s a ‘Nervous Cook’: ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Star Is Convinced ‘Every Recipe Is Going to Turn Out Wrong’

Ina Garten may be a seasoned pro in the kitchen, but she admits she’s still a “nervous cook.” She follows her Barefoot Contessa recipes closely since they’re so thoroughly tested and totally foolproof.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten raises a glass
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten raises a glass | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten admitted that she’s ‘really a nervous cook’

During an Oct. 23 interview with 60 Minutes, Garten said that she’s not all that confident in the kitchen. But her years of developing and testing recipes until they’re perfect guarantees she’ll always get a dish just right.

“I know people don’t believe this, but I’m really a nervous cook,” she confessed. “And I’m sure every recipe is going to turn out wrong so I’m incredibly precise, even now.”

Garten explained, “I follow my own recipes exactly because I’ve spent so much time getting the balance of flavors and textures and everything right.”

Even though she makes it look easy, she admits, “I’m really not a confident cook.”

Ina Garten thoroughly tests her Barefoot Contessa recipes

Garten explained that she doesn’t have the culinary experience to just throw dishes together effortlessly and will test recipes 10 or even 25 times to get them right. Then she has one of her assistants test the recipe and that often uncovers ways she can tweak it even more to make her ingredient lists and recipe instructions very understandable.

“I just want you to feel like I’m right there beside you, just kind of guiding you through the recipe,” she explained.

Garten also shared the appeal of her Barefoot Contessa cooking show, even for people who don’t have an interest in cooking. “I think there was a time when mom was in the kitchen cooking for us and I think people feel like they’re just hanging out with me and I’m cooking for them,” she said.

The Barefoot Contessa star’s cooking philosophy is all about keeping it simple and fun. “Well I just think, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point, really?” she said.

As for the importance of balance in life, the Food Network host said, “I want to do what I love doing and I want to do it really well and then I want to have a life.”


Ina Garten Reveals ‘1 of My Secret Pleasures’: An Easy ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Recipe She Says Is Her ‘Obsession’

The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star once shared an easy tip for getting more comfortable in the kitchen

During a 2021 appearance on Next Question With Katie Couric, the host asked Garten about the most important skills you should learn in the kitchen.

“I don’t think you need to be a restaurant chef,” Garten said. “I think you need to know how to make four things really well and just make them over and over. And really kind of get comfortable. And they don’t have to be complicated.”

For example, Garten shared, “If you can make a roast chicken, you can make a roast turkey — just takes a little longer. If you make roast broccolini, you can make roast squash. Roasting vegetables is really easy.”