Whether it’s her husband, Jeffrey Garten, or her neighbors in the Hamptons, the 72-year-old’s sharing a meal on her TV show. But, chances are, the celebrity chef’s not hosting a dinner party in a dining room. And she has a very specific reason for it.
Ina Garten is all about stress-free entertaining
Garten, or the Barefoot Contessa, is known for her laidback approach to entertaining. Her goal is to make cooking and hosting as stress-free as possible. That way she’s having more fun and, as a result, so are her guests.
To achieve a stress-free party, Garten makes dishes that don’t require lots of steps or too many ingredients. That’s where her “How easy is that?” catchphrase comes in. She even has an entire cookbook dedicated to making food in advance. Garten released Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook in 2014.
One of Garten’s tips for hosting is to do away with the idea that everything has to be homemade. As she says on her show, “store-bought is fine.”
Oftentimes she makes a few recipes herself and then relies on local bakeries or markets for the rest. But as she’s noted on her Barefoot Contessa and in interviews, she advises they be “good” or high-quality. It’s also the same piece of advice she gives to first-time hosts.
“Don’t make everything yourself; your friends will have just as much fun if you go out and buy a fabulous cake at a bakery,” she told Epicurious.
The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ host prefers to eat in the kitchen
Don’t have a designated dining room? Don’t worry. Garten, who films her cooking show in her “barn” on her property in East Hampton, New York, prefers kitchens to dining rooms. Why? True to her Barefoot Contessa brand, it’s less formal, which is exactly what she likes.
“I tend to entertain in the kitchen rather than in a formal dining room because I think everybody feels more relaxed,” she once told Food Network.
Watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa and chances are Garten’s sitting down at a table anywhere but in a dining room. She eats in the kitchen of her “barn”, on the patio, or even by the beach.
Ina Garten likes to have people over on Sunday afternoons
Not much of a surprise here. Garten likes to entertain on Sundays. More specifically Sunday afternoon when she can sit down and have a nice, leisurely meal.
“Well, for me, Sunday afternoon—Sunday lunch—is the best time to entertain,” she told Epicurious.“Everybody’s done all their chores, they’re relaxed, nobody’s falling asleep or looking at their watch, saying, “Can I go home and go to bed?’”
To do entertaining the Barefoot Contessa way, remember that relaxed is always better. How easy is that?