Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa

American home cook Ina Garten is the star of the Barefoot Contessa.

Ina's cooking career began in 1978 when she bought a small speciality food shop called Barefoot Contessa. She decided to keep the shop's name - named by the previous owner after the 1950s film starring Ava Gardner.

With no formal training Ina spent the next twenty years improving and expanding the shop, which became well known for its self-branded line of gourmet coffee and high quality pre-prepared dishes, including Ina's hallmark Cœur à la Crème.

In 1999 she wrote her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which was an instant bestseller. Ina went on to write several more including, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Barefoot in Paris and Barefoot Contessa at home.

In 2003 the Barefoot Contessa shop closed, and Ina went on to host the show, Barefoot Contessa. Ina has written for the Martha Stewart Living magazine and has launched her own line of packaged mixes, marinades, sauces and preserves.

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa