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10 Things You Never Knew About the Barefoot Contessa

This one is for loyal fans of Ina Garten (and Jeffrey, of course).

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Ina GartenCourtesy Food Network

If you know the name “Ina Garten,” you know all about Barefoot Contessa. Garten’s flair for food can be found on her website, in her collection of cookbooks and of course, on her Food Network series. Even so, there are a few facts that might surprise even the truest of Barefoot Contessa fans!

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The Show Isn’t Filmed in a Studio

Garten shared her morning commute with Oprah Daily—a relaxed walk across the yard of her East Hampton property to the 2,000-square foot barn she owns with her husband Jeffrey. Inside the barn is the beautiful, spacious kitchen you see on Food Network, stocked with everything Garten needs to film Barefoot Contessa. She even has 25 feet of counter space.

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Movie Slate board in handozgurdonmaz/Getty Images

Barefoot Contessa Is Filmed Twice a Year

Before Garten started filming in the barn, she did have to do the show from her home kitchen. That’s a lot of people in one space! The filming for Barefoot Contessa is an eight-week process that Garten goes through twice a year, and production crews and personnel essentially took over her space, she shared with Oprah Daily.

It might not be the 10 to 16 hours of filming a day for Great British Baking Show that Insider leaked, but it makes us want a sip or two of Ina Garten’s favorite rosé.

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US-ENTERTAINMENT-TELEVISION-EMMYSVALERIE MACON/Getty Images

The Show Is Award-Winning

For starters, Barefoot Contessa won a Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Culinary Series” in 2015 and 2021, according to Variety. Plus, Garten has earned a long list of awards from the James Beard Foundation. Don’t miss Ina Garten’s best cooking tips.

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Garten Never Wanted a Cooking Show

After everything she’s accomplished, you might be surprised to know that Garten never wanted a cooking show of her own. In fact, she spent years turning down offers from Food Network. “For years I said no, and they kept coming back with a better offer,” Garten shared, according to Insider. “I said, ‘I’m not negotiating, I just don’t think I can do this.'”

Turns out, she can host her own show—really, really well!

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2012 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

She’s Taken Camera Tips from Martha Stewart

We all know about Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s friendship, but Garten actually credits the lifestyle personality with helping her break into the entertainment scene. In fact, Garten made regular appearances on Stewart’s show before starting Barefoot Contessa. “She’s so confident and so good at what she does that I just kind of took my cues from her,” Garten told People. “I think I took my confidence from her confidence.”

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Exterior ViewMatthew Peyton/Getty Images

Barefoot Contessa Was a Store First

Back in 1978, Garten bought a 400-square foot specialty food store in the Hamptons already named the Barefoot Contessa by its previous owners. She ran the store for nearly 20 years before selling it in 1996. The doors to the original Barefoot Contessa closed in 2003, but Garten has clearly carried on its legacy.

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Scene from The Barefoot ContessaJohn Springer Collection/Getty Images

Barefoot Contessa Draws Its Name from a ’50s Film

While it was the name of Garten’s former specialty food store (and what she’s endearingly referred to as), Barefoot Contessa was originally the title of a 1954 drama.

“So many people ask, ‘What does Barefoot Contessa mean?'” Garten wrote on her blog back in 2018. “It was the original name of my specialty food store after a movie with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart. But for me, it means being both elegant and earthy…”

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48th Annual Daytime Emmy AwardsDaytime Emmy Awards 2021/Getty Images

Barefoot Contessa Has Been on the Food Network for Almost 20 Years

Garten published her first cookbook back in 1999, then launched her Barefoot Contessa TV series in 2002. Twenty years later, the show is still one of the most popular on Food Network—and for good reason. Have you tried Ina Garten’s roast chicken recipe?

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Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Capital One - Food Network's Rooftop Birthday Party Hosted By Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay And Ina GartenNoam Galai/Getty Images

Garten Won’t Watch Her Own Show

Even after all of her success, Ina Garten refuses to watch even a single episode of Barefoot Contessa. “If I watched a show, I don’t think I’d ever do it again,” Garten told Food Network. “Filming is still the most frightening thing I’ve done. It’s just sheer terror. I haven’t gotten used to it yet.”

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Ina and JefferyTaylor Hill/Getty Images

The Show Isn’t All Cooking

Like other celebrity chefs—Ree Drummond, for example—Garten doesn’t just cook on her show. In fact, she spends a few minutes most episodes shopping locally and preparing for dinner parties, business events or simply a meal with Jeffrey. Garten also puts an emphasis on supporting some of her favorite businesses in the Hamptons.

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.