Ina Garten's Honest Cooking Confession Will Surprise You

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Cooking can be hard, especially if you're venturing beyond pasta with jarred tomato sauce or ramen noodles, but Ina Garten somehow makes it all look easy. On her Food Network television show, Barefoot Contessa, and in her cookbooks, Garten turns elaborate dinner parties (with signature cocktails to match!) into effortless affairs. But the celebrity chef revealed in an interview with The Cut that she doesn't actually think cooking is easy at all.

It's just one of the reasons why she wrote her 2018 book Cook Like a Pro, and why she shares the cooking tips she's learned from 30 years in the professional food business with her fans.

"I actually find cooking really hard. I don't find it easy," she confessed. That's because every time you cook a dish it can feel like a new experience, Garten explained. "The ingredients are different, or you don't have the right dish size, or you make meringue on a humid day so it doesn't come out the same." 

This can be frustrating for those who are just beginning to cook, and even the Barefoot Contessa occasionally finds herself stumped. "There are so many variables that I find it really challenging," she said.

Some of the dishes she'd rather not attempt, or that she finds ways to simplify? "There are things that just take too much time, like Bouillabaisse. It takes a long time to make a classic Bouillabaisse or a duck confit," she told Food & Wine. She also turns her nose up at preparing demi-glace. "I can make a demi-glace but who wants to? Whereas at a restaurant, they have people that do that."

Other times, the challenge is what makes cooking exciting for her. "[Husband] Jeffrey had this theory that if I found it easy it wouldn't be interesting," Garten said, and her more than quarter-century in the food business seems to be a testament to that. 

At the end of the day, whether it comes down to cooking or running her business, Garten says that the most important factor in finding success is trusting yourself, and taking things one step at a time. "I don't figure out what the end game is, I just figure out what I want to do tomorrow. And I do it as well as I possibly can do it, and let the results work out for themselves."