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Photo: Maura McEvoy
I had no idea what I was getting into. In 1978 I was working in the White House Office of Management and Budget and thinking I’ve got to do something more creative. I came across an ad in the New York Times for a specialty food store for sale in the Hamptons and I decided to investigate. My husband Jeffrey and I drove to Long Island to see the store and I fell in love. I had no experience in the food business but I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do. I made the owner a low offer thinking I’d go home and I’d think about it. She called the next day and said, “I accept your offer.” Yikes! I owned a specialty food store!

Eighteen years later, Barefoot Contessa was a store that was celebrated both for its style and delicious food. In 1996, I sold the store to two employees who continued those traditions. At that point, with nothing to do, I built myself an office over the store and tried my hand writing a cookbook. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook turned out to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done professionally and the response from readers has been absolutely overwhelming. In 2001 I published my second book, Barefoot Contessa Parties! In 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style was released, and I started my show on Food Network, also called Barefoot Contessa. In 2004, I published Barefoot in Paris about my favorite simple French food.

In 2003, the owners of Barefoot Contessa, the food store, decided to close their doors and go on to new adventures. I’m excited to continue the traditions and build the brand with new cookbooks, new television shows, and lots of delicious products that continue to reflect not only our quality and style, but also my love of entertaining friends and family.

I live in East Hampton, New York, and Southport, Connecticut with my husband Jeffrey.