11 Best Ina Garten TV Moments, Ranked

When it comes to cooking shows, there are few hosts who imbue a sense of gentle calmness quite like Ina Garten. Her Food Network show, "Barefoot Contessa," quickly nestled its way into the hearts and televisions of home cooks everywhere, and for good reason. She walks viewers through her delicious recipes with a soothing voice that could almost lull you to sleep if you weren't so jazzed up about the meal you're learning about. Garten has a beaming smile and kind eyes, and both of those traits combined with an extensive knowledge of all things tasty and delicious make her a television personality that's nearly impossible not to love.

Over the years Garten's made all sorts of appearances on daytime talk shows and social media, charming any audience who tunes in to watch. She seems to do it all when it comes to cooking, and no true fan of hers would ever want to miss out on any moment she's spent dazzling viewers. So, in case you might not have seen them, here are 11 Ina Garten television moments that prove her joyous personality and cooking prowess both deserve a place in our hearts.

11. Ina wows us with her ultimate tuna melts

One thing that Ina Garten always did on her daytime show "Barefoot Contessa" — among many, many other things, of course — was constantly wow audiences with her amazing meals. And that makes sense, because what kind of television network would want viewers feeling like they weren't taken for an awesome ride while they watched? Well, one of the dishes that certainly had viewers glued to their televisions screens trying to prevent drool from dropping onto their carpets was her Ultimate Tuna Melt.

Her sandwich, as she put it, was "basically a tuna sandwich but with the volume turned way up." Well put, Ina. The first advice she gave viewers was to use great quality tuna, not the stuff most supermarkets sell. She used Spanish tuna that was packed in high-quality olive oil. Then, she turned the typical tuna salad totally on its head with the addition of finely chopped dill and a squeeze of anchovy paste into the mayonnaise — absolute game changer. After scooping the tuna salad onto sliced bread, she popped a handful of shredded Emmental Swiss cheese onto each one and into the oven they all went to finalize everything in the meltiest way possible.

10. Ina goes big with a 5-pound pot roast

Bigger is usually better, especially when it comes to a delicious meal. And if there's one person who certainly knows how to go big in the kitchen, it's Ina Garten. She proved this to viewers in the heartiest way possible when she braved the choppy waters of a gigantic 5-pound pot roast. This hunk of meat would have had many people cowering in fear that they would screw the whole dish up, but not Garten. She stared that roast in its metaphorical eye and tamed it with her culinary skills, all while viewers watched in awe.

The log of chuck roast Garten used for this was very high quality, which is important when you're cooking something so large or else the end result wouldn't have that fall apart in your mouth texture you want when you braise. After browning the roast in olive oil, she removed it from the pot and started prepping the veggies for the sauce. Coarsely chopped carrots, celery, onions, and garlic all took a plunge into the pot along with more olive oil and a thyme-rosemary bundle. Then, in went the fun stuff, a few glugs of red wine and two tablespoons of cognac to really punch up the flavors, along with good quality tomatoes. Once the liquid started boiling, Garten put the huge roast back in the pot where it simmered for several hours until it turned, in Garten's own words, "meltingly delicious."

9. Ina harnesses her sweet side with raspberry baked French toast

As if many viewers don't already think Ina Garten was the sweetest food host on television, she always has a trick or two up her sleeve so people grow even fonder of her. In one episode of "Barefoot Contessa," instead of treating viewers to a rich, savory dish like she so frequently did, she traveled down the opposite avenue and made raspberry baked French toast. Those four words in that order are enough to get anyone's palate jumping for joy with anticipation, and Garten took us step by step through this amazingly sweet breakfast treat.

The dish started with day-old challah bread, which is very pillowy and a little sweet, making it the perfect choice for this dish. Garten cubed the bread in 1-inch pieces and put a layer of them into the bottom of a casserole dish. Then, on top of the bread, she layered fresh raspberries before layering more of the challah cubes onto that to make a triple-layered stack. Next, Garten poured a mixing bowl full of 10 whisked eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla over the bread and raspberries before popping the dish into the fridge so the whole thing could form up overnight. A simple journey into the oven the next morning cooked the whole dish to a golden brown, and the addition of maple syrup on top meant this was one of the sweetest Ina Garten moments on television.

8. Ina teams up with Giada de Laurentiis to make gnocchi

Even the best cooks sometimes team up with a partner to create a doubly awesome meal, and that's exactly what happened in one episode of "Barefoot Contessa" when fellow Food Network host Giada De Laurentiis joined her pal Ina Garten in the kitchen and the two of them got to work crafting a wonderful lemon gnocchi dish for the viewers. Now, even though Garten probably could have cranked out this dish solo, it's always nice to see two great energies combine onscreen, and that's exactly what happened.

This particular dish was actually de Laurentiis' recipe, so Garten was quite enthused to join her on the culinary journey. She revealed to de Laurentiis that she's never actually made gnocchi before, so the Italian chef was happy to introduce her to the process. The gnocchi pasta was a combination of lemon zest, mascarpone, eggs, a little bit of flour, and grated Parmesan cheese. Once all of those ingredients were combined using a blender, the gnocchi itself was made using a spoon before being rolled in flour and placed into boiling water. Once the gnocchi boiled to a light, pillowy consistency, the only thing left to do was make a butter-thyme sauce and ladle it on top. As Garten put it, "it's like a light pillow with butter sauce. Who wouldn't want to eat that?" We couldn't agree more.

7. Ina gets bougie with truffled mac and cheese

Any time truffles start finding their way into a dish, you know you're dealing with something a bit fancier than normal. Truffles lend an astoundingly earthy and savory profile to any food, but man are they expensive. Truffles are for special occasions, and what's more special than tuning into Ina Garten for an afternoon? Garten was on a mission to impress and leave us salivating when she cranked out her oh-so-bougie truffled macaroni and cheese, which she called "the best mac and cheese I've ever made." 

The elegance starts with Garten sautéing sliced shiitake and cremini mushrooms in butter, olive oil, and cream sherry until they're tender. When the mushrooms were nearing completion, Garten broke out the pasta – Cavatappi – and unloaded the box into a pot of boiling water. Now for the fancy schmancy stuff — the sauce. Garten placed a couple dollops of white truffle butter along with flour in a pot to create a roux. Once that thickened, four cups of scalded whole milk went into the pot, as well as shredded gruyere and extra sharp cheddar. Once the cheese sauce was melted down enough, Garten poured in the pasta and gave everything a thorough stir. Then she simply dumped the mixture into a casserole dish, topped it off with breadcrumbs and the sautéed mushrooms she made earlier, and popped it into the oven. Elegance made easy.

6. Ina whips up lobster BLTs

A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is a true classic. The ingredients are simple, but that addition of the rich, salty bacon to the lettuce and tomato really packs a meaty punch that many a palate loves. A BLT is sandwich simplicity. But, Ina Garten knows that people don't want to tune into her program to see basic stuff happening. So, she upped the BLT game completely in one episode of "Barefoot Contessa" and added fresh, succulent chunks of lobster meat along with creamy avocado slices. These were BLTs that were worthy of sticking around through every commercial break until they were finished.

Before the assembly of the sandwich started, Garten had to prepare her lobster meat, and boy what a feast for the eyes it was. She had huge, perfectly tender pieces of boiled lobster tails and claws on her cutting board, and she gave the meat a few runs through with her knife. She kept the lobster pieces thick as opposed to mincing the meat like a salad. Now, the condiment used here was a simple mixture of mayo, ketchup, and relish, and once that was thoroughly mixed the sandwich assembly began. Garten smeared the mayo-based sauce on both sides of her sliced bread, stacked the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and bacon (which she roasted earlier in the oven), and then lastly nestled on those chunks of delicious lobster meat before crowning the sandwich with another slice of bread.

5. Ina spills gossip about her relationship with Jeffrey

Anyone who's even seen just one episode of "Barefoot Contessa" knows that she is deeply in love with her husband Jeffrey. She always mentions him during her onscreen chatter and viewers can tell the couple truly has something special. But the audience doesn't really know too much about the mystery man other than a handful of appearances he's made. However, when Garten was a guest on Drew Barrymore's daytime talk show she spilled the tea on how she and Jeffrey became an item, and it was exactly what her fans wanted to hear.

So, what exactly led up to the moment when the sparks between Ina and Jeffrey really started to fly? Well, according to Garten, the first date was a "disaster!" According to Garten, she was in high school and Jeffrey was in school at Dartmouth when they first linked up. Garten, trying to impress Jeffrey when getting together for the first time, suggested they go to a local Dartmouth bar. However, Garten was so young and naïve, she had no idea she needed a fake identification to get past the bouncers, and she was immediately turned away at the door. Even though she felt like a fool who ruined her chance, Jeffrey did call her for a second date. Years later, Garten asked her hubby why he gave her that second chance, and he responded, "I thought you needed taking care of." That's one way to secure a relationship!

4. Ina goes out for ice cream with Nathan Lane

A person like Ina Garten who not only has a super popular cooking show but has written books and made television appearances all over the place certainly rubs elbows with other famous faces. One of those faces, who's also her good friend, is actor Nathan Lane, and in an episode of her show "Be My Guest" (that's right, she has a second show), Garten invites Nathan to join her for ice cream from a local shop where they not only enjoyed the sweet treat but chatted and laughed about life while cozying up on a bench.

Before they start chatting on the bench, Nathan orders both marshmallow and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, and Garten finds it so enticing she also gets the same thing. Garten surprises Nathan with a pop quiz so both she and the viewers can get to know him a bit more. She asks questions about his worst job growing up (replacing broken orange juice bottles for a warehouse), the movie he's seen the most times (Casablanca), his favorite comfort food (rigatoni with Bolognese sauce), and the best present he ever received (his dog). In the end, both Garten and Lane had a blast, as did anyone watching.

3. Ina enjoys snacks and a cocktail with Stephen Colbert

When Ina Garten's thirteenth cookbook, "Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," hit shelves, "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert invited her on as a guest on the show. In her true style, Garten showed up with her calming energy and playful demeanor ready to dazzle and amuse his live studio audience. As soon as Garten took a seat, Colbert made it clear it was time "to Contessa up this interview space," and he certainly meant it in the most delicious way possible.

After placing a small tablecloth down on his interview desk, Stephen then pulled out two empty martini glasses, which everyone knew meant the booze was about to flow and the fun was about to begin. Funny enough, Colbert poured a watermelon martini for them both, and it was actually a recipe out of the book Garten was there to promote. And it didn't stop at martinis. Colbert also pulled out a platter of chipotle cheddar crackers, also a recipe from the book. Colbert admitted that while he's in hair and makeup before every show, he and the "glam squad" watch Garten on television, which you could tell touched her heart. It was an adorable way to show appreciation for Garten, and she enjoyed every second of it.

2. Ina shows us how to make a giant quarantine cocktail

If quarantine taught us one thing, it's that our livers are capable of handling way more booze than we thought. When the coronavirus crippled the world and we were all banished to our homes, alcohol sales went through the roof, reports Columbia University's School of Public Health. Enjoying a few drinks was perhaps the only way so many people could stave off the depression of not seeing other humans in person and being forced to communicate strictly through Zoom calls. Well, Ina Garten, like the rest of us, was forced into seclusion as well, but she used her mixology skills to create one heck of a cocktail capable of alleviating all our COVID-19 blues.

Ina took to Instagram to show all her fans how to concoct a behemoth cosmopolitan. The first step is getting your hands on an enormous cosmopolitan glass. Garten happened to have one, of course, but anyone interested in partaking in the boozy project could easily find one online. She started by dumping 2 cups of high-quality vodka into a large pitcher (she used Grey Goose), 1 cup of an orange liqueur, 1 cup of cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice. She poured the mixture into an oversized cocktail shaker that was half filled with ice and shook it like a Coyote Ugly bartender. Now for the fun part. Grab your oversized glass, fill to the brim, and sip away until you forget you're even quarantined.

1. Ina goes day drinking with Seth Meyers

The words day drinking are usually associated with college students and people on vacation. The rest of us hear them and think, "I have things to do today. There's no way I can let the booze flow before work is over." However, "Late Night" host Seth Meyers does a bit on his show where he takes celebrities out to ... you guessed it, drink while the sun is shining bright. And Ina Garten just happened to be the lucky interviewee in one cocktail-soaked episode.

Meyers and Garten hopped behind the bar at the Corner Bistro where they were hanging out and making cocktails created by Garten herself. A partition separates the two, and they compete to see who can make the tastier drink. Both parties have a blast while they crank out whiskey sours and cosmopolitans. But the day-drinking fun didn't stop there. Garten tested Meyers' knowledge of her sauces by presenting him with two glass bowls, one with a homemade sauce Garten created in it and a second with a standard sauce from popular fast food restaurants. Meyers also had Garten try to match real photos of bare feet with the real-life celebrities they belonged to. Meyers wraps up the afternoon by presenting Garten with a pink cake for her birthday, and both Meyers and Garten couldn't have been more pleased with how the entire amusing day unfolded.