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Barefoot Contessa

Barefoot Contessa is a popular food show on Food Network that is hosted by Ina Garten, a well-known French chef. The host of the show was known for her culinary proficiency not only in French cuisine but also in other cuisines such as Asian, British, American and Italian. Other than whipping up some complex yet delectable dishes, Ina went a step ahead in explaining how to decorate and present the dishes, along with entertaining tips. Ina loved growing and hand picking herbs in her own garden, she used the same for the dishes she cooked on the show, which was done in her own kitchen. She knew exactly how to turn the most complex dish into one that required lesser time, giving the individual more time for entertaining the guests.

History of Contessa Food Show

Barefoot Contessa, the food show got its name from the best-selling cookbook written by Ina Garten, which in turn got its name from the specialty food store that Ina bought in the year 1978, which originally opened in the year 1975. However, the store is no longer in operation, which was originally inspired from the 1954 film that was released by the same name as the food show. Many more Contessa cookbooks followed which showcased Barefoot Contessa recipes that were so popular in the chef’s specialty store. These very recipes have become popular on the show, albeit made very simple.

Though the show was first aired on Food Network, UK in the year 2002, it is now aired on Good Food in UK and even in Australia on the Lifestyle Food Channel, in Poland on the channel and on the Fatafeat Channel in the Middle East.

Format of the Show

The format of Barefoot Contessa show is completely based on her various cookbooks which also included party recipes. The dishes prepared by Ina Garten on the show, usually make up a complete meal that involve all types of dishes, from appetizers to main course dishes and even desserts.

The recording of the show takes place in Ina’s home in East Hampton, New York. On one hand, Ina whips up most of the dishes that feature in her first cookbook that was written in the year 1999 and then some episodes are a reflection of the Barefoot Contessa recipes feature in her Barefoot Contessa Parties book. The format of the show is such that Ina shows how to cook some wonderful dishes and at the same time being able to take out time to be with one’s guest. She shows how to enjoy and also entertain guest while cooking some incredible dishes. She also explains how the dishes can be garnished and decorated to make them even more appealing.

Noteworthy Episodes of the Show

Barefoot Contessa has been quite popular since its inception in the year 2002. Almost all the episodes of the show have garnered rave reviews; however the ones that were more popular are the ones where Ina shows how to make some simple yet delicious party dishes.

Some popular Barefoot Contessa recipes on the show are Ina’s Salted Caramels, Turkey Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese, Affogato, Arugula with Parmesan, Banana Crunch Muffins, Broccoli with garlic and soy sauce, Blanched Crudites, Blue Cheese Burgers, etc.

The success of Contest food show, which was a result of Ina Garten’s series of Contessa cookbooks that ranged from the ‘Parties’ book to ‘Family Style’, ‘in Paris’ and ‘at Home’, led to another show hosted by Ina Garten, which is known as Barefoot Contessa – Back to Basics. Most of the episodes were shot from close quarters, enabling the viewers to view food being chopped, sautéed, simmered, etc., from very close, making it a real time experience.

Awards won by the Food Show

Barefoot Contessa was awarded the first Daytime Emmy Award in the year 2005 in the category of Best Service Show and this was followed by another Daytime Emmy Award in the year 2009, albeit for in a different category i.e., Best Culinary Program. Even Ina Garten, the host of the show, was awarded with an Emmy in the Best Culinary Host category.

Food Show Trivia

Due to the use of high fat and dairy products in her recipes on the show, the Barefoot Contessa recipes, in fact all recipes of Garten were criticized by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. This particular association promotes only vegetarianism and veganism, as they believed in the benefits of eating non-dairy products.

The success of Ina’s specialty food store and also that of the food show, led to the launch of a line of pantry products by the name Barefoot Contessa, which was managed by Ina and her business partner Frank Newbold.