Q & A with Ina Garten

Authors, Celebrity Chefs, Meet

We’re thrilled to have cookbook author and Food Network star Ina Garten as our featured chef at Williams-Sonoma this month. From her foolproof recipes to her relaxed entertaining style, who better to provide this year’s Hanukkah menu and offer her best party tips?

 

We talked to Ina to learn exactly what led her to the kitchen, the ingredients and tools she uses most, and her favorite holiday traditions. Keep reading to hear what she had to say.

 

How did you begin cooking?

When my husband Jeffrey and I were first married, we took a 4-month camping trip to Europe. The markets in France knocked me out (I was cooking dinner for us on a camping gas stove!). After the trip, I decided to really teach myself how to cook. I bought the two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and I was hooked.

 

What sets your cookbooks apart?

When I started to write cookbooks, the popular books had 500 recipes in them. I thought, “Who needs 500 recipes?” I wanted to do a book that had 75 really good recipes that I could make over and over again. My cooking experience was from running a specialty food store so, as opposed to restaurant food, I knew what people wanted to eat at home, like roast chicken, roast carrots, and spinach gratin.

 

What is your most prized kitchen possession?

I have three categories of things in my kitchen that I can’t live without—and with them, I can make lots of perfectly delicious meals — Wusthof knives, All-Clad pans, and a stack of half-sheet pans.

 

What is one thing that’s always in your fridge or pantry at home?

When I’m testing recipes, there’s always the moment that I think, “This needs something but I’m not sure what.” For those moments, I always have sea salt, Dijon mustard, and Grand Marnier in the pantry; dishes of lemon and garlic on the counter; a big chunk of Parmesan cheese in the fridge; and fresh thyme growing in the garden. One of those ingredients usually does the trick!

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Hands-down, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love the meal, Thanksgiving doesn’t have the gift-giving pressure of Christmas, and it’s a time to be with the people you love most. We eat dinner around 4 p.m. and then everyone comes into the library to watch an old movie and eat homemade salted caramels. That’s my idea of heaven!

8 comments about “Q & A with Ina Garten

  1. Di

    Ina is my favorite celebrity chef. I have all of her books in print AND on my iPad. I love her style and her recipes are perfect for entertaining or a quiet dinner at home. She was the one person who really inspired me to cook and now I love cooking! Thanks Ina!

    Reply
  2. Dee McCullough

    I am gong to make Expresso Carmel Bars from the food newtwork show.I need to buy smoked sea salt.There are so many to choose from.Which one do I buy?I don’t know anything about baking with sea salt?I watch her shows after a long day of walking dogs.I find you to be very relaxing and I can enjoy baking again like I used to.

    Reply
  3. Cindy Sue

    Ina is simply the best. I am always confident whenever I make any of her recipes, that is often, and thanks Ina for the inspiration and good feelings I get when preparing food for my husband and I. As empty nester’s it’s important more than ever to me to focus on making meals special and relaxing, it’s our time, and Ina is helping to make it a happier time.

    Reply
  4. Mary

    Ina is my inspiration to stay home and have a delicious homemade meal. Her simplicity of recipes makes it a joy to cook! My family enjoys coming home to be surprised of what Ina has inspired me to cook that day. I just got back from New York after having met her at a book signing in barnes and noble and purchased her latest book. She is as simple a person as she seems on t.v. Great job Ina! Keep inspiring many more cooks. Her recipes are foolproof!

    Reply
  5. Patricia Dávalos

    FELICIDADES PARA. INA GARTEN. ME FACINA VER SU PROGRAMAS DE TV. ME GUSTAN MUCHO SUS RECETAS. SON MUY PRÁCTICAS DEL. DIARIO APARTE QUE ELLA ES UN ENCANTO. ME GUSTARÍA MUCHO QUE VINIERA A MÉXICO. A DAR. UNAS CLASES SALUDOS Y ESPERO ALGÚN DÍA VERLA POR ACÁ PARA CONOCERLA EN PERSONA. GRACIAS. BYE

    Reply
  6. Clark Phippen

    When will Ina Garten be returning to your store, or the nearby area?

    Thank you,

    Clark Phippen

    Reply
  7. Judy Rath

    I am very interested in the white dinnerware use on the show/cookboos (pattern and brand) where can I purchase a set?

    Reply

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