Ina Garten Took Inspiration From a Paris Hotel for Her ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Theme Song

Barefoot Contessa always starts with the same music whether Ina Garten’s making a chocolate cake or roasting a chicken. The award-winning cooking show’s been airing for nearly 20 years and while the set’s changed — Barefoot Contessa’s filmed in Garten’s “barn” instead of her home — the music’s stayed the same. Where did the Food Network star get the idea for her now-iconic theme song? A hotel in Paris, France.

Ina Garten got the idea for her ‘Barefoot Contessa’ theme song from Hôtel Costes

Ina Garten speaks at the 2015 Forbes Women's Summit
Ina Garten | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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During a 2018 interview with HuffPost Personal to promote her eleventh cookbook, Cook Like a Pro, Garten shared the story behind the Barefoot Contessa theme song. She explained she’d been listening to playlists created by the luxury hotel, Hôtel Costes, when her show was first being made. 

Garten liked what she heard and thought something similar would be perfect for Barefoot Contessa. She sent the music to the person in charge of writing the theme song and the rest is history. 

Here’s what she told the publication:

“I sent the person who was writing the theme song some music that I like and it came from that, “Garten said. “At the time — and even now — I was listening to a series of mixes put out by a hotel in Paris called Hôtel Costes. The music is Moroccan, it’s American, it’s French — it’s all kinds of different music, and the writer took the feeling of that music and wrote the theme song.”

The music for her cooking show isn’t Garten’s only connection to France. She went there on a life-changing camping trip with Jeffrey Garten and now has an apartment in Paris.

The Barefoot Contessa recommends a Hôtel Costes playlist for cocktail parties

Nearly 20 years since Barefoot Contessa premiered and Garten’s still listening to playlists from Hôtel Costes. As part of “Ask Ina” on her Barefoot Contessa — Garten answers questions from fans — the best-selling cookbook author shared that Hôtel Costes is responsible for her go-to cocktail party music. 

“I like to play Costes La Suite (Hôtel Costes Vol.2),” she told a fan when they asked for suggestions on creating an “upbeat” cocktail party playlist. “It’s an eclectic mix of genres but the songs are all fun and upbeat … perfect for [a] cocktail party!”

Garten also turns to Hôtel Costes for holiday playlists. 

“I think music is really important for a party—it gets everyone in the holiday spirit the minute they arrive,” she told Williams Sonoma Taste in December 2012. “I love the series of CDs mixed by the French Hôtel Costes – they’re a combination of American, French, Moroccan music and they have a wonderful upbeat energy.” 

Having friends over for cocktails, a dinner party, or brunch, and chances are Garten’s going to play music from Hôtel Costes. 

Ina Garten also has a cooking playlist

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When the Barefoot Contessa’s in the kitchen cooking she likes to have music on. Garten has an entire playlist she’ll “crank up” in her “barn.” 

“The first thing I do when I start cooking is crank up the tunes — it really gets my creative juices flowing!” she wrote on her Barefoot Contessa website in October 2019. “I’m sharing one of my go-to cooking playlists that I call ‘Women Who Rock’ — it’s a compilation of lots of my favorite songs by female artists. I hope you love it!” 

Some of the tracks on Garten’s playlist? “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”