Before She Was The Food Network Icon We All Love, Ina Garten Worked For The White House, Was A Supportive Army Wife, Camped In Europe, And Got Her Pilot’s License

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Who doesn’t love the Barefoot Contessa, A.K.A the Queen of East Hampton, Ina Garten? With her deliciously classy recipes and giant quarantine cosmopolitans, Ina Garten is one of the most beloved figures featured on the Food Network.

But did you know that before she was known as the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten worked in a field entirely different from food? 

The famous chef lived an exciting life before becoming a famous cooking show host, and here’s a look inside it. 

Ina was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1948 and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. This was where she met her husband, Jeffrey Garten, who many of us famously know from her Food Network show. Ina and Jeffrey married in 1968 and moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Jeffrey served a four-year military term during the Vietnam War, and Ina started to dabble in cooking and entertaining.

She also chose to get her pilot’s license because she and Jeffrey lived across the street from a small airport that offered flying lessons.

However, when she went over to sign up, she was told no one there could teach a woman how to fly. So, she went over to the next town and found someone who would and became a certified pilot. 

Once Jeffrey finished serving in the war, the couple decided to go on a long trip to Europe and camped in Paris, France, for four months. On her Paris trip, Ina fell in love with French cuisine and the French people’s appreciation for food.

When she and Jeffrey returned to the United States, she extended her cooking knowledge by intently studying the famous Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

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