'Barefoot Contessa': Ina Garten's Favorite TV Series Pick Says So Much About Her

Food Network star Ina Garten dedicated an Instagram post recently to one of her favorite television series.

Her pick for what’s good on TV is giving the program a nice amount of visibility, and it speaks volumes about the Barefoot Contessa herself.

‘The Lost Kitchen’ is a Magnolia Network program

The Magnolia Network show, The Lost Kitchen, which also airs on discovery+, follows chef Erin French as she and the staff of her Maine restaurant by the same name try to create a new normal during the pandemic.

The six-episode series introduces viewers to French’s staff, made up entirely of women with, at first at least, modest kitchen skills. Although the eatery has been through different versions of itself (as a pop-up restaurant, as a supper club out of French’s apartment), it officially opened in Freedom, Maine in 2014.

The Lost Kitchen is also different in that it’s a small restaurant, seating only 50 diners per evening and reservations are accepted not by phone or internet, but only through the U.S. mail, by sending a postcard to the restaurant.

Closed now due to COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant’s website says only: “Our dining room is currently closed due to the pandemic. Please stay tuned. We’ll be announcing further details about our 2021 reservation process shortly…until then.”

French’s story mirrors Garten’s

French, like the Barefoot Contessa, is a completely self-taught cook. The expense of culinary school was too off-putting for French and she instead dedicated herself to experimenting with foods, textures, and tastes.

After leaving Maine for California and dreams of being a doctor, she returned to her home state with a son and renewed hopes of opening a restaurant.

“People told me I was crazy, that this restaurant would never work,” she told The New York Times in 2017.

Like French, Garten poured her money and her self in the 1970s into her gourmet food shop, The Barefoot Contessa.

After she bought the Hamptons store, she cooked for customers using her experience cooking for friends. But she felt it wasn’t enough, and so decided she wanted to know more about French food.

Garten signed up for cooking classes with Lydie Marshall, a French cooking teacher in Greenwich Village who had grown up in Provence.

“About twelve students would show up each evening,” Garten wrote in her 2004 cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. “We’d get assignments for the meal – the beginners made the salad and the experts cooked the main course – and we’d cook away the evenings.”

Garten tweeted her appreciation of the show

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLHZxoXBHR2/

It’s easy to see why the Food Network star so admires The Lost Kitchen. French’s drive and desire to serve others elegant, thoughtful meals is a reflection of Garten’s own life.

The television personality posted on Instagram in February: “I’ve watched a lot of series over the past year at home but my favorite (by far!) is The Lost Kitchen on @discoveryplus. This is a beautiful story of how Erin French, the chef/owner, used her creativity and resilience to keep her team and the local farmers going during a pandemic. You’ll be so inspired!”

If Garten likes it, you know it has to be not only brilliant, but also worth your time.

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