This Advice Changed Ina Garten's Life Forever

If you're an Ina Garten fan, you might already know that she entered the food business through an unusual route. While many celebrity chefs, including Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain worked their way up from doing dishes, Garten was a 30-year-old budget analyst working on the nation's nuclear energy policy under presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (via The Muse) before pursuing her passion in cooking.

Garten, an avid home cook in the late 1970s, saw an ad for a small food shop for sale in Westhampton, New York. That store, called Barefoot Contessa, would change Garten's life forever (via The Muse). But the decision to take the plunge and buy the store, leaving behind a prestigious government career and job security, wasn't an easy one.

According to Insider, it was Ina's husband Jeffrey, who helped her make the leap. Not only did their joint real estate investments help to fund the career change, but Ina says it was his advice that sealed the deal.

The advice Jeffrey gave Ina helped push her to where she is today

In 1978, while Jeffrey was enjoying his job with the State Department (via Biography), Ina Garten realized a career at the White House wasn't her calling. She says it was Jeffrey's supportive advice that gave her the motivation to make a career change.

According to Insider, Garten, who had only begun teaching herself to cook a few years earlier with the help of Julia Child's cookbooks (via Indie Bound), says her parents were shocked that she was willing to leave her high-level job to run a grocery store.

But Jeffrey was different. Insider recounts a quote Ina Garten gave to the The New York Times: "Jeffrey said, 'If you love it, you'll be really good at it.' And that's the best advice anybody ever gave me." While she was initially disappointed in her decision and thrown off by the long work days, Jeffrey's support helped her stay focused. He told her that if she could instantly master the job, she'd be bored in no time.

As Insider reports, Garten moved the store to East Hampton in 1985 and successfully ran the Barefoot Contessa for nearly 20 years before finally launching her cookbook and television career. We think Jeffrey's advice was inspiring: Do what you love, and you'll be great at it.