There are few people we love more on this earth than Ina Garten.
Through her unexpected journey to celebrity chef stardom, the 71-year-old has amassed a significant net worth—a jaw-dropping $50 million. Yup, we’re not joking. So, just how exactly did the Barefoot Contessa come to be the successful businesswoman she is today?
Her rise to kitchen legend and award-winning cookbook author didn’t have quite the conventional start you might imagine. Unlike many other Food Network stars, Ina didn’t begin her career in the food business. (She taught herself how to cook and has no formal training.) Ina was actually on a much different career path before switching over to doing what she loves.
Between her early career in the White House (yes, you read that correctly), owning a specialty food store, writing best-selling cookbooks and hosting popular television shows, Ina has worked hard for her money.
Here, a breakdown of Ina Garten’s net worth.
1. Her White House Career
When we first heard that Ina began her professional career in the White House, we found it extremely hard to believe. But in fact, it’s true. Back in 1978, Ina was working on nuclear energy policy—sounds hard—during the Carter administration. But at the time, she knew she was destined "to do something more creative and fun than writing nuclear energy budgets," as she states on her blog. So when she came across a New York Times advertisement for a speciality food store in the Hamptons, she (and her husband, Jeffrey) just had to check it out.
2. Her Specialty Food Store
So, Ina and Jefferey made a trip to Long Island to scope out the place. She called it “love at first sight.” With little to no experience in business (or the food business), she made the store owner quite a low offer. Within 24 hours, her offer was (surprisingly) accepted, and Ina was officially the owner of a specialty food store. And that, my friends, is how the Barefoot Contessa was born. What began as a small takeout shop, grew over the course of roughly 20 years (!) into a 3,000-square-foot food emporium.
3. Her Cookbooks
After two decades, Ina was ready for more. She sold her shop and went on to draft cookbook proposals. It took over two years to finish her first one, but The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was one of the best-selling cookbooks of 1999. Of course, she had several follow-up cookbooks that also did incredibly well…ultimately leading her to launch her Food Network show in 2002.
4. Her TV Shows
The Barefoot Contessa is one of the oldest shows still on the network’s schedule and has approximately 1 million viewers tuned in per episode. Pretty impressive. "I do the TV because it's an important part of the business, but it's the cookbooks I love writing,” Ina exclusively told Forbes.
5. Her New York City Apartment
Between her culinary successes and hubby Jeffrey’s (also) successful career, it’s no surprise the couple could afford their swanky NYC apartment. According to Forbes, the duo bought their Manhattan spot for a whopping $4.65 million (!). The home includes two bedrooms, three bathrooms and, of course, a one-of-a-kind kitchen. However, their primary residence is in East Hampton, New York (where Ina films her TV show).
So while it seems the bulk of her estimated $50 million fortune comes from her show, Barefoot Contessa, her cookbooks and merchandise have definitely contributed a great deal. Yup, looks like Ina definitely brings home the bacon (and then cooks it for Jeffrey, of course).