13 Things You Never Knew About Ina Garten

Did you know that she worked in the White House?

Ina Garten is known for her home-cooked recipes and she is very successful with what she does, even before the Food Network. She is also an interesting individual with more going on under the surface than you may realize. Here are 13 things you may not know.

1. Garten has been meticulous since she was a child.

She loved science classes and did well in all areas of school, which worked into her culinary career as an adult. She precisely measures all ingredients in her recipes, treating them like scientific equations.

2. She met her husband Jeffrey when she was 15 years old

Garten was at Dartmouth College visiting her older brother when she ran into Jeffrey and they soon were an item. Her own education was put on hold to be with him after high school and they got married in December 1968. He was 22 and she was 20.

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Happy Valentine's Day! #tbt

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3. Garten is a pilot

While Jeffrey was away in the Vietnam War, she took flying lessons to keep busy and got her pilot’s license.

4. She started her career in the White House

It wasn’t food that launched her career, she worked in the White House offices of management and budget under Carter and Ford. Garten was the budget analyst, responsible for writing the nuclear energy budget.

5. She is known as ‘The Barefoot Contessa’, which comes from a specialty store she purchased in the Hamptons.

She purchased, flipped and sold homes to raise the funds necessary to buy The Barefoot Contessa in 1978. The shop was named after the 1954 movie, The Barefoot Contessa, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner.

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#tbt At Barefoot Contessa in East Hampton in the early '90's! Those were the days! #toomuchproduce

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6. She collects cake stands and cookbooks.

If you were to look in her East Hampton Hills home, she has a room and workshop dedicated to collecting cookbooks and cake stands. There are shelves lining the walls with books on the bottom and cake stands up top. She even is a self-proclaimed cake stand hoarder.

7. The Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad is her most popular recipe on Food Network.

It takes one hour and 20 minutes to make the Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad but it is well worth it.

6. She likes to make a rack of lamb and orzo with roasted vegetables served with whiskey sours for dinner parties.

She thinks that everybody loves the meal but you have to be precise with the measurement

9. She never watches herself on TV.

“I couldn’t possibly. If I watched a show, I don’t think I’d ever do it again,” she once said.

10. She prefers not to cook for herself.

She may throw a salad together for a solo meal but won’t turn on the oven.

11. She considers Tina Fey and Taylor Swift to be her friends.

She also has fellow Food Network stars as her friends, such as Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, Wolfgang Puck, and, of course, Jeffery!

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Just another day at the office – OMG cooking with Taylor Swift! Love her!!! @taylorswift @foodnetwork_mag

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12. She tried to sell a cooking show to Martha Stewart Living.

Stewart wasn’t fond of the idea and demanded that the pilot tapes were to be destroyed.

13. The Barefoot Contessa has been airing for 13 years.

Garten refused to do the show when she was first approached with the idea. The network continued to pursue her and she eventually agreed to 13 episodes for one season. She has gone on to produce over 240 episodes and has a loyal following of approximately 1 million visitors.