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Ina Garten Unveils New Cookbook in San Diego

The Barefoot Contessa chef will talk career, cuisine, and Jeffrey at Balboa Theatre in November


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Ina Garten is coming to San Diego. | Photo Courtesy of Food Network

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November 16
Balboa Theatre

After nine best-selling cookbooks, it was only a matter of time before Ina Garten wrote one dedicated entirely to her oft-mentioned husband. In the new Cooking for Jeffrey, the chef, author, and Food Network star has penned a memoir-style cookbook filled with her husband’s most-requested dishes and photos of the couple through their decades-long relationship. To fete the new book, Garten will appear at Balboa Theatre November 16 to talk about her career (from White House nuclear energy analyst to best-selling author), recipe development, and entertaining tips. Here, we chat with the East Hampton–based chef about her upcoming visit, Thanksgiving meal prep, and more.

Have you been to San Diego before?

I have. I love it. There was a Winter Fancy Food Show at the Convention Center in 2008. I’m looking forward to coming back. It’s freezing cold here, so it would be nice to be warm again.

Tina Fey is interviewing you in New York. Who is your dream interviewer?

Tina! That would be it. The other person interviewing me in January at the 92nd Street Y in New York is Danny Meyer from Union Square Hospitality Group, so I think I got my two dream interviewers. I feel like I should be interviewing them!

How is this cookbook different?

I wanted it to be a bit of a memoir. When I first married Jeffrey, I had never cooked before. When I cook for him, he just appreciates it so much, it encourages me to do it more. Over the years, he said, “Follow what you love to do, and if you love it, you’ll be really good at it.” It was great business advice. That’s what the book is about—how I ended up here literally just by cooking for Jeffrey.

What’s one foolproof meal to impress guests?

It’s one I’ve made a lot that’s in the new book: the skillet-roasted lemon chicken with roasted broccolini, and everyone loves the vanilla rum panna cotta with salted caramel. You mix the panna cotta in a bowl, refrigerate it, and serve it with warm salted caramel that I just get out of a jar. I don’t even make the salted caramel. It’s a really easy, really delicious dinner.

Favorite cocktail?

I love a good whiskey sour. When it’s made with fresh juice and bourbon, it’s really special, maybe because when I was a child my father used to drink whiskey sours and he’d give us the cherry. It’s a remembered flavor.

Any Thanksgiving dinner tips?

I make something that can be prepared Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so by Thursday I just have to throw everything in the oven. And we all think a turkey cooks forever—that’s what our mothers used to do—but turkey is just like making a roast chicken, just bigger. A fairly big turkey cooks in 2.5 hours. The biggest thing is not to overcook it.

So what are you doing on Friday morning after Thanksgiving?

I’ll be recovering! Probably a walk to the beach and hanging out with Jeffrey.

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