An Evening with Ina
Despite the fact that I need to get up at the crack of dawn to be at work to alleviate a potential art shipping emergency, there is something that I need to get off my chest. I think Ina Garten is snooty. There, I said it. I know the world is in love with the Barefoot Contessa, and I've wanted to feel the same affection for her too, but I just can't foresee us being BFF's anytime soon.
Tonight I attended a moderated interview between Ina Garten and the current CEO of Yahoo at Dominican University. I accepted the gracious invitation from my future mother-in-law, ever so curious to see what the Barefoot Contessa was like off camera. Turns out she is exactly as I imagined: pretentious, somewhat likable, and really has a love for cooking and entertaining. I guess two out of three ain't bad. I've seen her show a million times and have always liked her style of cooking, but have never felt a connection with her like I have other celebrity chefs. Perhaps it's the way she mentions her husband Jeffrey every five seconds and prances around the Hamptons like she belongs on Gossip Girl. Let's face it, I'm definitely more of an Anthony Bourdain or David Chang kind of gal.
Honestly, I think that Ina has a really interesting story. She was a former White House nuclear policy analyst who bravely decided to change careers and open up a specialty food store. She has had no formal culinary training but is a New York Times best selling cookbook author and Food Network star. I think it's great that she's able to do what she loves and gets paid to do it, but I so desperately wanted to be inspired by her story or have her share some words of wisdom. Something to give me the courage to take that same leap of faith and follow my own dream, which is not that far off from the one she has realized for herself.
Perhaps I was expecting too much. I wanted a story and person that I could relate to, but Ina's answers were mostly shallow and left me wanting the real story. When presented with the question "What has been your biggest failure?" she claimed that she has never really failed. Maybe it was just her self acknowledged type A personality talking, but I found her answer to be pretentious and quite frankly, dishonest. Everyone fails now and again, and it's these failures that help us to learn and grow. We get it, you're highly successful, but even Kim Kardashian would have had a more honest answer for us.
In the end I walked away with a signed copy of Ina Garten's new cookbook Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, and I hope to find more truth in her recipes than the facade she tried to fool us with.