Ina Garten Just Doesn't Care About Food Trends

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Cooking with caviar. Creating Japanese-Italian fusion. Adding salted egg yolk in beverages. Mixing pickle-flavored cocktails. There's always something new and exciting that's happening in professional kitchens around the world. But if you're looking to prepare a meal that showcases the latest food fads and trends like molecular gastronomy, one celebrity chef who isn't likely to give you any inspiration is Ina Garten. The "Barefoot Contessa" has built up her entire career by taking the classics and making them her own by adding a twist or giving them a flavor boost.

Garten's attitude towards food is summed up in her book "Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics," the 2008 cookbook meant to make her cooking more accessible to those who may or may not be comfortable around the kitchen. In the cookbook's introduction, Garten explains, "People are always asking me what the new food trends are, but I have to admit that food trends don't really interest me ... Instead of looking for new ideas, I'm just looking for old ideas and finding the best ways to make delicious foods."

Ina Garten's cooking philosophy is focused on flavor

For Garten, cooking presents itself as an opportunity to bring out the taste of every ingredient, whether it's the thyme, lemon, and garlic in her skillet-roasted lemon chicken or the gruyére and extra-sharp cheddar that brings her mac and cheese to life. As far as the celebrity cook is concerned, all food needs to be served "with integrity and flavored with respect for the ingredients," as she tells readers in her cookbook. 

By her own admission, Garten says her dedication to coaxing flavor out of her food has become "more intense." Part of this involves cooking with produce that is in season and from there, prepping and cooking ingredients until they are the best they can be. In an interview with Epicurious, she raised the example of adding coffee to chocolate — a trick she uses to make her famous chocolate cake. It's a technique experienced chefs like Garten use to turbocharge the flavor of chocolate, without leaving behind a discernible coffee-flavored footprint.

So if you're looking to try the latest trends like cowboy candy or tinned fish, Garten may not be the culinary inspiration you're looking for. However, if you want to cook up a mean rigatoni with sausage and fennel, the Barefoot Contessa's recipe will be just what the chef ordered.