Why Ina Garten Won’t Eat Chinese Takeout

Ina Garten eats all sorts of food on her cooking show, Barefoot Contessa. When she’s not in front of the camera, she’s testing new recipes or traveling and visiting restaurants all over the world. Whether she’s at home or abroad, don’t expect her to get Chinese takeout. The 73-year-old Food Network star has avoided Chinese takeout for years.

Ina Garten ‘almost died’ eating Chinese takeout

Ina Garten cooks on 'Today'
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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While promoting her tenth cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, Garten explained why she skips Chinese takeout. It’s not because the Food Network star doesn’t care for the taste — she actually really enjoys Chinese takeout — but rather because of an unfortunate experience that put her off the cuisine completely. 

“I had really bad Chinese takeout once and almost died,” she told People during an on-stage interview in 2016. “And I’ve never had Chinese take-out since then. I used to love it!”

When she does eat fast food, Garten gets In-N-Out Burger

The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ host gets takeout from restaurants in the Hamptons

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

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Garten’s lived and worked in East Hampton, New York, for many years. Currently, she films Barefoot Contessa in a “barn” next to her house where she also tests cookbook recipes. Prior to becoming a celebrity chef, Garten owned her own East Hampton specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa.

When she’s not working, Garten likes to get takeout from local restaurants and specialty food stores. She doesn’t make a meal like the ones seen on Barefoot Contessa if she’s home alone. Instead, she opts for something more simple. 

“Cooking is a sharing thing; it’s not about the cooking itself,” she told FN Dish in 2012. “If I’m by myself, I’ll have fruit, yogurt, and granola or get soup from somewhere nearby, like Loaves and Fishes.”

Loaves and Fishes is just one of the places Garten recommends visiting in the Hamptons. What other restaurants and specialty food stores are her favorites?

On her official Barefoot Contessa website in 2018, the best-selling cookbook author shared she also likes restaurants such as 1770 House, The Palm, East Hampton Grill, Vine Street Cafe, and Candy Kitchen. Not on the list is a Garten recommendation for Chinese takeout in the Hamptons. 

The Barefoot Contessa’s has multiple Asian-inspired recipes

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Even though Garten doesn’t eat Chinese takeout she doesn’t avoid Asian flavors or Asian-inspired dishes entirely. She has a few Barefoot Contessa recipes with Asian flavors. 

Garten has a recipe for Szechuan noodles as well as Crunchy Noodle Salad — one of the Barefoot Contessa’s top weeknight dinners — and Chinese Chicken Salad. Each one includes classic Asian flavors in the ingredient list.

Soy sauce, fresh ginger, sesame seeds, and sesame oil are all featured in her Chinese Chicken salad. The same can be said for her Crunchy Noodle Salad and Szechuan noodles.