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 and fun than writing nuclear energy budgets! 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 the next day to see the store and it was love at first sight. I had no experience in the food business - or in any business! - but I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do. I made the owner of the store a low offer, thinking I'd go home and decide if I really wanted to make such a dramatic move. The owner called me the next day and said, "I accept your offer!" Yikes! I had just bought a specialty food store!
After eighteen years of perfecting baguettes and chicken salad, Barefoot Contessa was a hugely popular store celebrated both for its delicious food and its style. In 1996, I decided that it was time for a new challenge so I sold the store to the manager and the chef. At that point, with nothing to do, I built myself an office over the store and tried my hand at writing a cookbook. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook came out in 1999 and turned out to be the most exciting thing I've ever done professionally. Happily, that first cookbook was a surprise best-seller. By 2002, I had published two more cookbooks and started filming a show for Food Network, also called Barefoot Contessa.
By 2015, I had published nine cookbooks and filmed fourteen years of television shows for Food Network. At the same time, I had also written monthly columns for Martha Stewart Living, the Oprah magazine, and House Beautiful. I currently write a monthly column for Food Network magazine. This year marks the publication of my tenth book, Cooking for Jeffrey, which is not just a collection of recipes for dishes that Jeffrey adores but it's also a bit of a love letter to him for always encouraging me to do what I love. We live in East Hampton, New York.
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