​Ina Garten was born to cook

Ina Garten, also known as "The Barefoot Contessa," didn't set out to be a celebrity chef
One fateful day in 1978, while reading the classified section, something caught her eye: "A specialty foods store for sale in a place I'd never been before, in the Hamptons," she said. "And I thought, 'Mmmm, that's interesting.' And I went home that night and I said to Jeffrey, 'I have to do something different. Nuclear energy policy's not me.'"

"I felt really bad for Ina," said Jeffrey. "She was very unhappy. And I said, 'Well, let's look at it.' Never, ever dream anything would happen."

"You didn't tell me that!" Ina said.

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Jeffrey and Ina Garten with correspondent Serena Altschul. CBS News

Against better judgment, Garten took the plunge and bought the tiny shop on Long Island called the Barefoot Contessa, named after the 1954 movie.

"My parents were horrified!" Ina laughed. "But Jeffrey just said, 'If you love doing it, do it.'"

The Barefoot Contessa on the pillar of good cooking

So she poured her heart and soul into the store, often working 12 hours a day to keep things afloat.

"I was exhausted, but exhilarated," she said. "And I would go home thinking, 'I have to go to sleep,' and I'd go, 'I don't know, there's a chocolate cake that I really need to retest.' And I'd be back at the store at 11 at night."

The hard work paid off.

Ina showed Altschul what goes into her mouthwatering cupcakes: "They're filled coconut," she said. "And we have a frosting that's made with cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar. And I actually add vanilla and almond extract."

And she doesn't shy away from the icing. "Isn't it an icing delivery system, the coconut cupcake?" she laughed.

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Clarkson Potter

Today, at 66, Garten has built a culinary temple in her barn devoted to her passion -- a whole library filled with cookbooks, a kitchen just for her show -- a short walk from her house in East Hampton.

"I can't believe I get up in the morning, I leave my house, I walk to the barn, and I get to cook with my friends."

For Garten, it's her recipe for happiness.

She said, "One of the great gifts that you can give people, is to cook for them."


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