Ina Garten Promotes New Cookbook With Revealing Q&A
On Thursday night, Ina Garten, also known as “The Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network, was the focus of a revealing question-and-answer session at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.
Garten fielded audience questions about holiday cooking, her facial cream, cooking tips for college students, and many questions about her husband Jeffrey Garten.
The Q&A event, sponsored by Vroman’s Bookstore, was Garten’s only stop in Los Angeles to promote her new cookbook: “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.”
KCRW’s Evan Kleiman, host of the radio show “Good Food,” served as moderator for the evening.
“An Evening With Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa” pre-sold 750 tickets, with attendees receiving a ticket into the event as well as a signed cookbook.
Jennifer Ramos, promotional director for Vroman’s Bookstore, explained why Vroman’s asked the Food Network star to work with them. “She’s just got such an easy style and great food.”
Ramos continued, “She’s just really relatable to everybody – the beginning cook, the person who’s an expert, everybody.”
Audience member Pualani Gillespie, from Hawaii, agreed, “What’s most appealing about Ina Garten to the world is that she’s so real [and] nonthreatening in her style of cooking.”
“Ina doesn’t throw a culinary background at you,” Gillespie said. “She’s just one of us.”
During this 70-minute interview, Garten had plenty of times to show how relatable she was to her audience. She laughed, joked, and answered everything the audience asked her, even if she was a tad embarrassed by the question.
Garten seemed confused when Kleiman asked what facial cream she used. Garten self-consciously brought her hands to her face, not realizing right away that she was being complimented for her youthful skin. (For the record, Garten said she uses “fabulous” Roc skin products).
In light of fellow Food Network star Paula Deen’s controversy with unhealthy recipes and a diabetes diagnosis, one of the audience members asked, “Do you use a lot of butter?” Garten laughed, “I’m not answering that.”
Many of the evening’s questions related to Garten’s husband, Jeffrey. Fans of the show know Jeffrey as the easygoing guy who loves to eat his wife’s cooking, especially his favorite food – chicken. Audience members wondered whether Jeffrey had any single friends or a brother that was single.
There was one too many questions about what Jeffrey eats when Ina isn’t home and his current whereabouts.
Garten good-naturedly admitted, “Jeffrey and I joke that if I ever get hit by a bus, there’s going to be a line of women waiting with roast chicken… all the way from New York to California.”
Neon Tommy asked Garten for any food shopping advice or recipe recommendations for college students on a budget.
“There are wonderful potato dishes and vegetable dishes that are really inexpensive,” Garten said. “I think farmer’s markets here are probably the best place for that. The key is finding things that are in season, because if you buy raspberries out of season they’re going to be incredibly expensive, but apples aren’t.”
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Garten also responded to audience questions about ‘foolproof’ Thanksgiving menus and tips.
Garten said she writes a schedule down of when dishes need to go in the oven and rarely cooks more than three side dishes.
She also stressed: “You don’t have to make everything yourself.” She pointed out that more restaurants than ever offer Thanksgiving to-go dishes.
“Your friends aren’t going to have more fun if you make the mashed potatoes by yourself,” she assured the audience.
Other tasty tidbits that Garten revealed during her interview were what actress she would love to play her in a movie (Meryl Streep) and that she never cooks for herself.
“The Barefoot Contessa” will return with new episodes on the Food Network in January, and Ina Garten’s new cookbook “Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust” is now in stores.