Even if you’re an Ina Garten superfan, you may not have been clued in to how cool her origin story really is. Not only is she an accomplished and beloved TV host and cookbook author, she also has her pilot’s license, worked in the White House, and opened up a successful store (after which her TV show and cookbooks are named). Ina recently reflected upon her professional life, including the encouragement her husband Jeffrey gave her when she decided to make food her full-time job.

Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Ina was 30 and working at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Ford and Carter administrations when knew she wanted to make a change. She found an ad in the paper for a specialty food store up for sale and decided to take the plunge. In a recent conversation with The New York Times‘ Sam Sifton, as reported on by Insider, Ina said she was nervous, but that Jeffrey gave her great advice about her new endeavor.
“Jeffrey said, ‘If you love it, you’ll be really good at it,'” she said during the recent talk about her new cookbook Modern Comfort Food: “And that’s the best advice anybody ever gave me.”
And though it wasn’t easy, she stuck through it and became wildly successful thanks to her talent and hard work. She shared more wise words from Jeffrey along the way too.
“Honestly, the first month I was there I thought, ‘This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life,'” Ina continued. “I’d never been in the food business, I didn’t know how to do anything. But Jeffrey said, ‘If you could do it in the first week, you’d be bored in the second week.”‘
Ina went on to sell the store and write her first cookbook, partially inspired by the customers from the shop, and the rest is delicious history! You can read more from the talk here.

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