Why Ina Garten's Husband Thought Her First TV Appearance Would Be A Disaster

Jeffrey and Ina Garten celebrated 50 years of marriage in December of 2018. The ease and comfort of their relationship is captured on Food Network when Ina cooks a roast chicken for Jeffrey every Friday and he comes through the door elated to see his best friend and life partner, smiling and ready to eat. According to Food Network, Jeffrey first spotted Ina in the fall of 1964 while she was visiting her brother at Dartmouth, and he claims he could see their whole future right there and then. "She looked really smart and she looked nurturing," he says. "She looked like she would take care of me," he told Food Network. 

Jeffrey started writing her letters and they eventually went on a date at a coffee shop, which was a "perfectly good time," according to Ina. Ina visited Jeffrey at Dartmouth often and they got married at Ina's parents' house in December 1968. Jeffrey enlisted in the Army and the pair moved to Fayetteville, NC, where Ina mostly stayed home and cooked, but Jeffrey knew she was capable of more.

"He just thought I was really smart and that I could do anything. He was the first person I knew who thought that about me," Ina told People. Jeffrey's support of Ina is undeniable, but when she made her first TV appearance in the summer of 1999, he was extremely nervous — and for good reason.

She had a big act to follow

Ina Garten's first-ever television appearance was on "The Today Show" in the summer of 1999, where she was promoting her first cookbook, "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" (via Food Network). Her husband Jeffrey was tuning in from his hotel room, and became extremely nervous when he watched the segment before hers. Disco legend Donna Summer brought the house down at Rockefeller Center as part of "The Today Show"'s summer concert series and Jeffrey thought it was going to be tough, if not impossible for Ina to measure up. To Jeffrey's delight, Ina's warmth and relatability on the segment drew the crowd in and she was able to hold their attention despite the incredible performance that had happened only moments before. 

"You just forgot that Donna Summer was ever there," Jeffrey told Food Network. "It was unbelievable." Jeffrey is still in awe of Ina's talent and success to this day and continues to support her as both a taste tester and a life partner. "He's just the best friend anybody could ever have," Ina told People.