Ina Garten Always Keeps 10 Things Handy in Her Gorgeous Barn Kitchen

Ina Garten is known to fans all over the world as the “Barefoot Contessa,” a woman who appreciates the finer things in life, including good bread, Madagascar vanilla, and a strong cocktail. Garten has written numerous bestselling books and helms a cooking show that is one of the most popular programs on the Food Network.

These days, Garten is locked down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — but the quarantine isn’t cramping Garten’s style. Recently, the celebrity chef opened up to the New York Times Cooking channel, giving viewers a unique look at her incredible barn kitchen and revealing the kitchen essentials that she deems absolutely necessary. 

Ina Garten has been living her best life in quarantine

Ina Garten on 'Today' Season 66
Ina Garten on ‘Today’ Season 66 | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Garten was born in 1948 and raised in New York City. After an early career working in the White House, in the Office of Management and Budget, Garten decided to pursue her passion for cooking and the culinary arts.

She opened a gourmet food store based in the Hamptons, expanding the store as her customer base grew. Garten became a local legend and ultimately parlayed the experience that she earned running the store to launch a full-blown culinary career.

In 2002, her cooking show, Barefoot Contessa, premiered on the Food Network and has since become a staple in the network’s programming.

When the pandemic hit, Garten was hard at work on her TV series, as well as a new cookbook. Although the pandemic was certainly a setback, Garten has embraced the challenges and come out swinging, recently debuting a brand-new season of her show.

Garten has also been sharing a lot of new recipes during quarantine, including a cocktail recipe that went viral. 

What foods does Ina Garten prefer to keep on her kitchen counter?

Recently, Garten gave an exclusive interview to the NYT Cooking channel, where she revealed her kitchen essentials and the foods that she makes sure to always have on hand.

Garten gave viewers a tour through her barn in the East Hamptons, where she does a lot of her cooking these days. She revealed that she considers the barn a “great luxury” because she can do all of her work there, and when she is done, she can simply walk across the yard to her home.

Garten admitted there are certain things that she keeps on her kitchen counter all the time, foods that are better when they are kept at room temperature. These foods include garlic, oranges, eggs, and lemons — the latter due to the fact that they have more juice when stored at room temperature, according to Garten.

Also on her kitchen counters: a jar full of spoons, for tasting purposes, and butcher blocks, which Garten says are “really important.”

What kitchen tools and ingredients does Ina Garten recommend?

Closer to her oven and stove area, Garten pointed out some essentials that she has to have when preparing food. These include several varieties of salt, for finishing a dish or adding flair, oven timers (Garten has a number of them), and oven thermometers.

Garten maintains that same sense of organization when it comes to her pantry. There, fans were treated to the sight of kitchen tools such as Dutch ovens, specialty dishes, and knife sharpeners.

Also on Garten’s list of kitchen must-haves is a kitchen scale, a food mill, parchment paper, for easy cleanup, and a “Wrap N’ Snap,” a tool that allows you to tightly seal finished dishes. “I use it all the time,” Garten admitted.

For perfectly portioned meatballs, Garten utilizes a trusty ice cream scoop, while her absolute favorite kitchen essential is “good vanilla.” Garten revealed that she makes her own vanilla by putting vanilla beans in a jar, along with good quality vodka. After four-six months, the mixture creates a vanilla extract, which Garten uses to create delicious-quality baked goods and desserts. “It makes a great Christmas gift,” the chef claimed.