Entertainment

How Ina Garten blew off the Food Network: ‘Lose my number’

Where would the world be without Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa”?

One thing is for sure, we probably would not know how to master the art of lemon bar-making and roast chicken.

The 73-year-old’s show has been on the Food Network roster for 19 years. However, Garten didn’t always want to be on camera.

The New York native turned down an offer for her own show from the culinary network several times before agreeing to do it.

“For years I said no, and they kept coming back with a better offer,” Garten told MSNBC host Willie Geist during the author luncheon for Shelter Island Public Library, Insider reported.

She added that she told the network to “lose my number” after they offered her a contract.

Ina Garten
Ina Garten revealed she initially was hesitant to have her own cooking show on the Food Network.
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via

The cookbook author continued, “I said, ‘I’m not negotiating, I just don’t think I can do this.'” Executives were dismayed at Garten’s response and kept on pushing for her participation.

“They said, ‘People send us hams to even get an appointment to try and get a show,'” Garten joked. However, despite the back-and-forth with the network, Garten looked back on her almost two decades of work. “Twenty years, it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m really delighted, I just can’t understand it.” 

Ina Garten
“Twenty years, it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m really delighted, I just can’t understand it.” 

Garten has written a total of 11 cookbooks since her debut book, “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” hit the shelves in 1999. Her show has been on the air since Nov. 30, 2002, and is currently the oldest show on the network’s daytime schedule.

Garten has run her specialty food store Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons for 20 years and decided to write a cookbook while working.

She told Geist, “I was like, ‘I really want to do something challenging now.’ I took a year off, built myself an office over the store, and went there every day trying to figure out what to do.”

Garten drafted a cookbook proposal with recipes from her store and it was accepted by publishers three days after she sent it out.

“I was like, ‘Oh s—, now I have to write a book,”‘ she recalled. “I love that people are learning how to cook and inviting people over for dinner. It’s about community. I love that part of what I do now.”