TV | October 27, 2021 11:02 am

No One Will Ever Want You as Much as the Food Network Wanted Ina Garten

The network reportedly pursued the Barefoot Contessa star for years

Author Ina Garten attends Ina Garten in Conversation with Danny Meyer at 92nd Street Y on January 31, 2017 in New York City.
Food Network do be simpin tho.
Noam Galai/WireImage

The Food Network may have recently weathered a nasty high-profile breakup with golden boy Bobby Flay, but at least things are still going strong with long-time love Ina Garten, who, unsurprisingly, seems to have been the apple of the Food Network’s eye from day one.

Approaching her 20-year anniversary with the network, the Barefoot Contessa recently opened up about the rocky beginning of their relationship to MSNBC host Willie Geist. By Garten’s account, it seems she was quite the belle of the Food Network ball, turning down multiple advances from the network before finally accepting the offer that led to her ongoing reign as the host of the long-running Barefoot Contessa, which has been on the air since 2002.

““For years I said no, and they kept coming back with a better offer,” Garten told Geist, adding that at one point, in true it-girl form, she even told Food Network to “lose my number” after she was offered a contract.

Naturally, Food Network wasn’t expecting to have to simp this hard, reminding Garten that many people would kill for a slot on the network — or at least send a ham. “They said, ‘People send us hams to even get an appointment to try and get a show,’” said Garten. But according to the star, she wasn’t just playing coy. “I said, ‘I’m not negotiating, I just don’t think I can do this.’”

At some point, however, Garten eventually relented, and a beautiful, nearly two-decade relationship filled with roast chicken, lemon bars and enviable Hamptons entertaining was born. Essentially, it’s a tale as old as time: Man relentlessly pursues uninterested woman until she finally relents and allows herself to be legally shackled to him for decades. It’s the kind of story your grandfather would tell you about how he met and ultimately wore down your grandmother, the kind that makes you go, “Aww, that’s so romantic! Or is it actually kind of creepy and aggressive? Oh well, it was a different time, and at least I exist!”

Still, I like to see a woman make a man (or a television network) work for it, and nearly 20 years later, Ina Garten and her persistent suitor are still going strong. Food Network do be simpin, though.