Ina Garten Posted a 46-Year-Old Throwback Photo of Her First Days as the Barefoot Contessa

She looks as chic as always

Ina Garten smiling
Talaya Centeno/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

Behind every chic, culinary-inclined Hamptonite in a chambray button-down is the quaint catering store that made her a star. That’s true for Ina Garten, at least, who recently shared a photo of her very first days as the “Barefoot Contessa.”

“Forty-six years ago this weekend I bought my first store, Barefoot Contessa,” Garten shared on Instagram over Memorial Day weekend, posting a throwback image of herself holding a large fish in front of her store.

“That weekend the original owner, Diana Stratta, and I worked 22-hour days the entire holiday,” she continued. “I remember telling [my husband] Jeffrey this may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also so exhilarating. (I guess it turned out okay?)”

Ina purchased the store after leaving a White House job in nuclear energy policy for the Carter administration. With no formal cooking training, she ran it for almost 20 years before selling it and pursuing a cookbook writing career. The Barefoot Contessa storefront (which was named after the 1954 Ava Gardner movie) may have closed in 2003, but its legacy lives on. Considering there’s an upcoming Ina Garten memoir, plus her 14 best-selling cookbooks (with presumably more on the way), it does indeed seem to have turned out OK for Ms. Store-Bought Is Fine. (For Jeffrey, too—according to Ina, he just bought a boat.)

She concluded the post, “Now when I look back, I think, who was that crazy girl with the curly hair and the gold necklace??”

According to the comments, she’s an “icon,” an “absolute queen,” “gem” and a “Long Island hero,” to name a few things.

Ina Garten Always Makes This Chipotle Cheddar Crackers Recipe for Guests, So Naturally, I Had to Try It


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...