Why We're Thankful for Jeffrey and Ina Garten's Delicious Love Story

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Ina Garten Says Husband ACCIDENTALLY Sent Sext to Wrong Person

Who isn't just a little jealous of Ina Garten's husband?

Because for all the farm-to-table goodness the Barefoot Contessa host and prolific cookbook writer has shared with her devoted fans implicit the years, it's Jeffrey Garten—of international "Jeffrey's gonna emotion it" fame—who gets to beryllium astatine Ina's existent array each day.

But it's besides evident that some spouses bring definite ingredients to the mix.

"She's the halfway of my life," Jeffrey, a freshly poured red grapefruit paloma successful hand, said of his woman and nonmigratory bartender of astir 54 years on 60 Minutes in October. "She's really the font of an tremendous magnitude of fun. And she is the halfway of the home. That's what she is to me."

Used to being bolstered by that level of support, Ida quipped contentedly, "That's not bad."

Not atrocious astatine all. Pretty delicious, successful fact.

The 74-year-old has sold millions of books, entertained aspiring home gods and goddesses with her long-running Food Network amusement and racked up a roster of personage pals. Everyone from Taylor Swift to Michelle Obama has paid homage, Jennifer Garner risked a room fire making beef bourguignon from Barefoot successful Paris and the legendary "engagement chicken" Meghan Markle prepared the night Prince Harry proposed was Ina's recipe.

But appearances on Barefoot Contessa and his wife's societal media person made witty, good-natured Jeffrey, 76, a prima successful his ain right, too.

"I'll spell to an airport," helium said on CBS This Morning in 2015, "and the idiosyncratic handling the information volition conscionable halt and say, 'You know, you get maine successful existent trouble. 'Cause my woman wants maine to beryllium conscionable similar you.'"

And what is that like, exactly?

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"Really sweet, kind, funny, smart, supportive, conscionable everything you could ever imagination of," Garten described her husband. "I mean, present we are 50 years later. And I conscionable consciousness that overmuch much astir it!"

Since becoming smitten astatine archetypal show successful the aboriginal 1960s, Jeffrey—a global concern expert who served arsenic undersecretary of commerce successful the Clinton administration—has been his wife's No. 1 champion.

As she recounted connected the Oct. 28, 2018, occurrence of Sunday Sitdown With Willie Geist, Ina Rosenberg was 15 and visiting her member astatine Dartmouth, wherever Jeffrey was besides a student, erstwhile she archetypal laid eyes connected her aboriginal hubby successful the library. Jeffrey asked his roommate if helium knew who the miss was—the Ivy League instauration successful New Hampshire hadn't gone co-ed yet, truthful she really stood out—and the roommate did cognize her.

In fact, Ina had a day with him that night.

"After the date, Jeffrey said to his roommate, 'Are you interested?' 'Oh no, I've known her since I was 5,'" Ina recalled what she's heard of that exchange. "So helium asked if helium could constitute to me. And helium wrote maine a letter...I retrieve moving done the house—he sent maine a photograph—and I retrieve saying, 'Mom, mom, this guy's adorable!'"

Six months later, Jeffrey showed up at her family's location successful Connecticut to instrumentality her out.

While she didn't retrieve what ma Florence thought successful the infinitesimal oregon if dada Charles, a surgeon, was adjacent awake to conscionable him, but yet her parents "just adored him," Ina shared.

For her part, however, Ina was amazed determination was a 2nd date.

Relaying the communicative Nov. 16 to a rapt Drew Barrymore for the actress' eponymous speech show, Ina recalled reasoning that since Jeffrey was successful college, helium astir apt wanted to spell to a bar. So she suggested one, they went and they were stopped extracurricular by 2 bouncers who wanted to spot her ID.

"I had nary thought I needed fake ID to get into a barroom erstwhile I was 16," she recalled with a laugh. "So galore years later, I said [to Jeffrey], 'What did you think? Why would you privation to instrumentality maine retired again?' He said, 'I thought you needed taking attraction of.' Which is truthful sweet, and helium was truthful right."


Ina majored successful economics astatine Syracuse University and joined Jeffrey on Dec. 22, 1968, erstwhile she was 20. They moved to Fort Bragg successful North Carolina, wherever she remained portion helium served successful Vietnam, earning her ain pilot's license and cultivating her flair for cooking and entertaining.

When Jeffrey got retired of the Army, they camped retired (literally, wrong a tent) in France —where, Ina told Willie Geist, they couldn't spend to devour successful restaurants so she would bargain nutrient astatine the markets. Consider her caput blown by the elemental powerfulness of farm-fresh produce, which wasn't yet the full genre of cuisine it would go successful the U.S. Ina became a devotee of Julia Child, the California-born amateur navigator who became a culinary stone prima with her classical tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking and consequent TV shows (and, incidentally, had an adoring hubby successful Paul Child).


Back successful the U.S., the Gartens moved to Washington, D.C., wherever Jeffrey attended Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and went to enactment for the State Department. Ina subsequently started a occupation arsenic a White House adjutant and, aft earning her MBA, spent 4 years, bridging the Ford and Carter administrations, moving connected atomic vigor argumentation for the Office of Management and Budget.

And past the universe really started to enactment successful mysterious ways.

On April 4, 1978, Ina saw an advertisement successful the New York Times about a "catering, gourmet foods and food shoppe" for merchantability successful Westhampton Beach, N.Y.—in a conception of the insubstantial she ne'er usually read, and connected the precise time the advertisement was posted. The spot was called The Barefoot Contessa, the owner's nickname inspired by the Ava Gardner-Humphrey Bogart movie from 1954.

Ina, who was calved successful Brooklyn and grew up successful Stamford, Conn., had ne'er adjacent been to the Hamptons—or seen the film, for that matter. But she connected with the name, and the accidental conscionable felt close for the fund analyst, who aft 4 years had grown frustrated by the deficiency of disposable results her enactment produced.


When the seller called and amazingly accepted her "very low" offer, "I just remember going, 'Oh, s--t,'" Ina said, laughing, on PBS Newshour successful 2017. "What person I done?!"

While she had a concern background, it was her first-ever career determination having thing to bash with food, her anterior acquisition coming lone from being a location cook. But, Ina recalled on Sunday Sitdown, Jeffrey gave her "the champion proposal anybody could ever get: 'If you emotion it, you'll beryllium truly bully astatine it.' I loved it, truthful I did it."

In hindsight, she noted, "It was incredibly brave of him to enactment everything we had down it. Worked retired OK."

Ina sold the store successful 1996 (by then she had moved it to a larger determination successful East Hampton), crediting its occurrence to the festive ambiance she created from time 1 with upbeat euphony ever playing, complimentary java and tons of goodies for her customers to sample. Armed with a well-heeled clientele, tons of bully buzz and a savvy publicist, her 1999 publishing debut, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, was a hit.

Food Network archetypal started calling her successful 2002, she told Willie, but she was a steadfast no. Despite the persistent interest, she simply didn't deliberation anyone would truly privation to ticker her connected TV. ("I don't get it," she often cracks about her personage status.) 

She did, however, relay that she was a instrumentality of Nigella Bites, which British sensation Nigella Lawson filmed at her London home. So, Ina recalled, Food Network hired Lawson's shaper to make a amusement for the warm, accessible, at-home navigator they hoped would go their adjacent star. 

Which is how Barefoot Contessa came to be. Ina archetypal changeable the show inside her ain East Hampton home (she thought the full task would beryllium implicit aft 13 episodes) earlier yet gathering the studio, bureau and trial room space she affectionately calls "the barn"—and which is conscionable a speedy locomotion crossed the lawn.

In summation to penning 12 much books—including 2016's Cooking for Jeffrey and her latest, Go-To Dinners, published in October—Ina has added a Discovery+ show, Be My Guest (also disposable arsenic a podcast), to her schedule, and she remains an every-occasion recipe root for radical of each ages, accomplishment levels and tiers of fame.

But portion Jeffrey ever seems to be around, readily disposable to assistance successful the room oregon illustration his wife's cooking connected camera, helium would really beryllium gone for astir of the week, having kept engaged moving successful government, connected Wall Street and successful academia arsenic a prof and dean of Yale School of Management. (He's also the writer of a fig of books, nary of which tin beryllium recovered successful the nutrient section.) 

So aft years of a small not-too-long-distance lack making the bosom turn fonder, staying enactment successful East Hampton starting successful aboriginal 2020... Well, the bosom got fonder still. And each that togetherness led to different bully thought for a book.

Go-To Dinners, Ina explained on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last month, was inspired by the cooking she did during the tallness of the COVID-19 pandemic, realizing after months of whipping up 3 squares a time for herself and her live-in taste-tester, that everyone could usage immoderate more low-maintenance meals successful their repertoire.

While they passed the clip with distant enactment and galore culinary endeavors, Ina taking to Instagram much regularly to stock recipes for nutrient and drink—"During a crisis, you know, cocktail hr tin beryllium astir immoderate hour," she said successful an April 2020 video—but adjacent the Gartens got stir-crazy.

"OMG backmost successful Paris aft 2 1/2 years successful a rabbit hole!" Ina captioned a photograph of her spouse successful May astatine the commencement of a two-week gustatory extravaganza. "Granted, it wasn't a unspeakable rabbit spread but erstwhile you can't safely permission home, anyplace starts to consciousness a small claustrophobic. It's truthful bully to beryllium present and everyone is truthful happy! First stop, a solid of rosé and immoderate chips astatine Café de Flores."

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As promised, Ina took her 3.8 cardinal Instagram followers connected rather the culinary tour, pausing to reminisce on May 11, "When Jeffrey and I came to Paris successful 1971, we stayed successful a tiny orangish structure connected the outskirts of Paris (we couldn't spend a edifice room!) but the bakery @poilane was connected my database of things to spot (how did I adjacent cognize astir it??). Now my favourite bakery is simply a artifact from our flat and I spell determination each the time. If idiosyncratic had told maine past however things would crook out, I simply wouldn't person believed it. Frankly, determination are inactive moments erstwhile I don't judge it!"

And done it all, Jeffrey's been the guy.

"He's the existent deal," Ina said on The Drew Barrymore Show. And, not surprisingly, he's a romantic. As their 54th wedding day approaches, the cute assemblage kid who erstwhile asked if helium could constitute to her keeps sending emotion notes—though present helium texts them. And they usually get astatine their intended destination.

"Sometimes they spell astray," Ina shared, explaining with a hearty laugh, "He sends them to the incorrect person."

Which is however Ina's bully person and publicist accidentally ended up with a substance from Jeffrey reading, "You're going to beryllium delicious tonight," to which she rapidly replied, "I don't deliberation this was meant for me!"

But while it's wide that she and Jeffrey make up a rock-solid team, Ina has fielded questions astir wherefore it lone has 2 members. 

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"We decided not to person children," Ina said connected the Next Question With Katie Couric podcast in 2017. "I truly admit that different radical do, and we volition ever person friends that person children that we are adjacent to, but it was a prime I made precise early."

She acknowledged that whitethorn person constricted their societal ellipse a spot due to the fact that parents often marque friends with different kids' parents, but c'est la vie. "So we ne'er had that transportation with different radical that I see, that network," she observed. "But no, I ne'er felt judged by it—maybe radical did, but I didn't notice."

But in her case, Ina added, she felt—and continued to feel—"that I would person ne'er been capable to person the beingness I've had. So it's a choice, and that was the prime I made."

In fact, Ina built an empire doing expressly what works for her.

"I effort to ne'er bash things for money," she told Willie Geist, explaining wherefore you don't spot her sanction connected each room merchandise nether the sun—or connected bags of fertilizer, contempt 1 company's champion effort. ("Like, you privation maine to licence your s--t?" she remembered the acquisition to Eater. "Like, what? Why would I bash that?") 

And she didn't springiness overmuch thought to her "brand," either.


"I deliberation about what's true for me," Ina said. "You bash thing truly well, you go known for it. A marque is similar a acceptable of emotions astir something…If you bash thing truly good that's truly important for you, 1 time you aftermath up and realize, I deliberation I person a brand."

She was also "really bully astatine saying no," she noted, knowing that spreading herself excessively bladed wouldn't beryllium bully for her concern oregon her life.

"I emotion what I do," Ina said. "I emotion that I locomotion from the location and I travel to the barn, and I conscionable 2 radical I emotion moving with and we get to constitute cookbooks, and erstwhile successful a portion we movie the TV show—and I get to spell location and person a fantastic beingness with Jeffrey. Anything that pulls maine disconnected that, I conscionable spot arsenic benignant of a discarded of time."

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