Why Ina Garten Would Never Make Bouillabaisse For A Dinner Party

Planning a dinner party isn't easy. It requires a lot of prep, time, and attention to detail. No one knows this better than Ina Garten which is why the professional chef shared on her Discovery+ special "Cocktails and Tall Tales with Ina Garten and Melissa McCarthy" that when she is creating a dinner menu, you will not find a classic French bouillabaisse on it. Why is Garten shunning this Provençal fish soup that was beloved by Julia Child? 

"There are things that just take too much time, like bouillabaisse," Garten told Food & Wine. "It takes a long time to make a classic bouillabaisse or a duck confit. I love to order them in restaurants. If I spent two days making dinner for my guests, and they eat it in two hours, they can't possibly appreciate it enough." Garten went on to explain that the end goal is to make something that takes no more than a couple of hours and is delicious. But time is not the only challenge of bouillabaisse.

Try this instead

A true bouillabaisse requires a long, low simmer that takes upwards of three hours. Beyond that, you are going to need a lot of ingredients and about three pounds of fish per serving. This spicy stew that began as a maritime necessity not only takes a lot of time to make, but it is going to take a lot of money to create as well. A traditional bouillabaisse is fragrant and uses not just tomatoes to create the broth, but garlic, fennel, and pricey saffron.  

If you love a fish stew and have your heart set on serving your guests something with a seafood flare, instead of bouillabaisse, try making a Cioppino stew. It is similar to bouillabaisse but will take under an hour to make, and you can make the base of the stew ahead of time if you want to save a little time on the day of your dinner party.