Ina Garten Never Wanted to Be a TV Star

Plus, what she learned from Martha Stewart

Imagine the world without the Barefoot Contessa: There would be no perfect dream world of life in the Hamptons, no Jeffrey and no Ina, at least not for those of us who get our fix on TV. Garten tells People that she originally shied away from appearing on television. "Why would anyone want to watch me on TV? I couldn't understand what I could do that was different; that was unique," she recalls. But Food Network kept asking. "They kept saying, 'No, you'd be really great,' and I'm like 'Lose my phone number.'"

Clearly, they didn't. "Fortunately, they kept coming back. And of course, here we are, 15 years later. I'm still with the same production company and still on Food Network. Despite myself," she says.

But before the Barefoot Contessa started filming, she started appearing on TV with Martha Stewart and picked up a few things, namely, confidence: "She's so confident and so good at what she does that I just kind of took my cues from her. I think I took my confidence from her confidence."