Opening the 2013-2014 season for Texas Performing Arts was Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, A conversation with Patricia Sharpe, Executive Editor/Food Writer for Texas Monthly. Any fan of Ina’s already knows she is the #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook author and Emmy-winning host of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. The same way she makes you feel like you are sitting across the counter from her on the show, she drew us in to short stories of her life, interests, and travels that drew laughs and applause. Patricia Sharpe seemed nervous at first, but soon yielded to the easygoingness that Ina imparts to those around her. She told how her grandparents gave her a dress from Paris when she was three, and how that has influenced her interest in Paris as an adult. She gave all the credit for her awarding winning show to the cinematographers and directors who have all been with her so long that there are now marriages and children and they have all become a big family.
The last thirty minutes of the show was open for questions from the audience. Those who asked questions were obvious fans and asked amusing and interesting questions. We learned that Ina does not like cilantro and loves soups, so she will probably not move to Texas. She has a cookbook index on her website, barefootcontessa.com, and she is ready for fall with an abundance of recipes for butternut squash. While in Austin, she had dinner at La Condesa and recommended it. She said that so many people tell her they feel like she is a friend from watching her show. Tonight she was just the same, as she talked about life, cooking, and keeping things simple.
If you are not a fan of Ina’s you may have gottent a little bored and wondered why the audience applauded when she mentioned her husband, Jeffrey. However, Ina’s charm and grace will leave an impression and next time you are flipping channels, you may stop to watch her make a wonderful meal and discover, “How easy is that?”