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Ina Garten Frozen Dinners?

Isn't it enough to be the Barefoot Contessa? Why do people do these things. This is so counterintuitive to her brand.

Major FAIL, Ina.


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  1. UGH! But why am I not surprised?

    Never cared for the woman; found her & still find her pretentious & fake. And now apparently - greedy.

    1. Wow, didn't see that one coming. I vote FAIL.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alliegator

        Ditto, and if she's going to sell them, at least sell them somewhere decent... not WalMart.

        1. re: juliejulez

          here, here. From the Hamptons' exclusive little eatery to Walmart ?

          Can anyone say brand erosion?

      2. "Why do people do these things."

        Money. If you were famous for something and made tons of money from it and people came to you all the time with schemes to make even more money, would you say no? Seriously. Would you? I really doubt it.

        And if you would say no, then you are a rare person and there should be more of us like you. I know I would jump at the chance to make as much money as I could if I were in her place. The fame does not last forever and it can be very fleeting for some. You do realize she is first and foremost in this for the money, right? If she were just in it for the pure love of cooking, none of us would have ever heard of her. It's all business.

        13 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          Maybe you would, but under the same circumstances as Ina Garten? Where I already had oodles of money - even prior to my cooking media empire - AND felt I had at least a minimal reputation to protect as a class act?

          I definitely WOULD NOT do it.

          1. re: Bacardi1

            "Maybe you would, but under the same circumstances as Ina Garten? Where I already had oodles of money - even prior to my cooking media empire..."

            Yes I would and under the exact same circumstances. How do you think the rich stay rich? They don't just stop trying to make even more money when they think they have enough. If you think so, you are a bit naive.

            "...AND felt I had at least a minimal reputation to protect as a class act?"

            But that is your assumption. She may not think she has to protect her reputation as we, her audience, projects on her. She may very well just be a smart business person who knows when and how to make a quick buck; the cooking part may well be just the platform she uses to make money at this point in her life. I still maintain that those in business who do well care much more about the bottom line than anything else.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              Yes, agree with all that it's about money and that's the disappointing part. How much is enough? Really. WalMart?

              And for the record, I wouldn't do it. In fact, I gave up a prominent career on the East Coast in the music industry, moved to the mountains of New Mexico and am starting a small farm. But that's just me :-)

            2. re: Bacardi1

              You have to realize, she doesn't socialize with people like you and me. I highly doubt her friends will snub her because she's making even more money now. In her circles making more money is the thing to do, doesn't matter that you made it selling stuff via Walmart. Do you think the Walton's friends think they're not a class act because they own Walmart?

              1. re: Rick

                <she doesn't socialize with people like you and me.>

                A highly speculative and stereotypical statement and, in many cases, just wrong.

                1. re: Rick

                  <You have to realize, she doesn't socialize with people like you and me. >

                  And you know that for certain HOW?

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    My mother used to go to the same beauty salon in NYC as Martha Stewart. They'd exchange greetings and a little small talk.

                    During the holidays, Martha walked in the salon while the colorist was working on my mother. She invited the colorist to her holiday party at her home. And she invited my mother, too. My mother, made up some lame excuse because she felt that Martha was just being polite and was inviting her just because she was sitting there. My response, "Are you CRAZY...you turned down an invitation to Martha Stewart's house???"

                    Several years later, a friend of mine was on Martha's show. I was in the green room and someone introduced me to Martha. She did NOT invite me to her house! BTW, she is really gorgeous.

              2. re: ttoommyy

                I see your point--but for me--well, I'm deeply shallow and if I were just an iota well-known for my cooking and had a reputation for using local, sustainable, seasonable foods; the BEST vanilla, etc. I would be really concerned about my reputation--again, that is just me, because I'm shallow and oh--I do care so much of what others think of me because I"m also incredibly insecure--so yeah, I'd pass:)

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  That's why I like Tony Bordain - no shilling for knives, a line of pots & pans, etc. He even called out the ol' Travel channel for a very obvious Cadillac placement in one of his last No Reservations episodes that he had not approved of.

                  Now THAT is the way to roll.....

                    1. re: chowser

                      I couldn't watch The Taste after the 2 hour premier but that show is the ultimate sell out. I'd rather sell dog food a la RR.
                      Don't preach from your ivory tower and then go on a fakey-fake "reality" tv show.

                    2. re: gingershelley

                      Inagree. The Taste is no better than selling pots and pans, frozen dinners, etc. It's still trading on ones name.

                  1. Ina is a business, and it seems like a successful one.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dolly52

                      Exactly my point. I think too many people project their attitudes and ideals onto celebrities and then are disappointed to find out they are human.

                    2. Ina's got at least 2 new barn kitchens to build that aren't going to pay for themselves!

                      1. <<Why do people do these things?>>

                        Why do you think they do them? Because someone is paying her a lot of money to use her name.

                        1. This line is being produced by Contessa Foods, a company that distributes frozen seafood and already offers the same type of bagged, frozen pasta dinners under their own name.

                          Apparently, there was a lawsuit several years ago about the use of the Contessa name. I guess this is some kind of settlement?


                          1. Wait, what's wrong with this?

                            Has anyone actually tried these frozen dinners? Are they any good?

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Don't think they have actually hit the stores yet.

                              1. re: pamf

                                So, then, what are people complaining about?

                                What if they turn out to be the most fabulous frozen dinners ever? The Vosages of frozen dinners, if you will.

                                Will we still excoriate her?

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I think we dislike it because on her show she always talks about using the best ingredients and cooking from scratch etc. This just sort of goes against that.

                                  Now that I've had a chance to think about it though, I might try one just to see how it is, and hopefully it'll be better than the other skillet meals already available. Might be a good thing to keep in the freezer if there's a night where I just REALLY don't want to cook, like if I was sick or something. Or, that's something my SO could make for himself if I wasn't home instead of getting himself some fast food. Too bad they won't be sold at Kroger stores, which is where I shop.

                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    "I think we dislike it because on her show she always talks about using the best ingredients and cooking from scratch etc. This just sort of goes against that."

                                    And that makes sense. But I doubt Ina cooks for herself (or has someone cook for her) every night of the week, every week of the year. I'm sure she expects people to have take out, a frozen dinner or leftovers. When she espouses "using the best ingredients and cooking from scratch etc." she surely does not mean every single day of the year. Even Jacques Pepin uses refrigerated cookie dough from the supermarket (something I detest) in one of his recipes! lol I would never write him off for doing so though.

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      Ina is a caterer by trade.

                                      Selling pre-packaged frozen dinners is really just a natural extension of catering.

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        "I think we dislike it because on her show she always talks about using the best ingredients and cooking from scratch etc. This just sort of goes against that."

                                        Not exactly. She talks pretty equally about using the best ingredients where it really matters, and subbing the pedestrian (frozen pearl onions for beef bourguignon, frex) where it makes life easier.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        Thank you, ipsedixit! Why all the Ina trashing here? Let's see if they're good. If they are, we can sure use them. She used to have a line of dessert mixes - I didn't hear complaints about that. Isn't it what this country is about? Why not be as successful as you can?

                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                      Supertaster over at CHOW just reviewed these frozen meals. I haven't tried them but I was very surprised to see how fresh they appear. The shrimp dish doesn't come with precooked shrimp, you saute them fresh out of the dinner bag. The broccoli looked super fresh. The pasta looked fresh too. The sauce was in its own bag to warm up. As frozen dinners go, these looked "thought out."

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I haven't seen them in the grocery store since I wrote this April comment. Are they still avail?

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            I saw them at my store recently... it's owned by Kroger. Thought the price (8.99 I think) was nuts though.

                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              Aren't most prepared frozen dinners in the six to almost ten dollar cat. Not that I'm hunting for one but I just saw this older thread and wondered if the product was even avail. Thanks for the update.

                                      1. Ina doesn't have kids to inherit her money so I don't really understand why she is doing it.
                                        As a person who praises about French people and their markets that sells fresh produces and as a person who sells a 'class' of her own, I don't know why she feels it's necessary to sell frozen food. I no longer heart her so much.

                                        19 Replies
                                        1. re: Monica

                                          "Ina doesn't have kids to inherit her money so I don't really understand why she is doing it."

                                          But maybe she has other dependents we don't know about? Or huge bills from something unknown to us? Or donates tons of money to charity? Or she just wants more money.

                                          As people who only know one tiny facet of her life from TV shows and cookbooks, how can we possibly even begin to judge her motives. We know NOTHING about the woman really.

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            Yes, true, i do not know everything about her life but I know for sure, she is not desperate enough to start selling frozen food in Walmart.

                                            1. re: Monica

                                              Maybe she really wants the people who shop at walmart to taste some better food, than what they usually find in frezzer section of the Walmart.
                                              Edit: looks like other posters down the line make the same point. But, so what.

                                          2. re: Monica

                                            So, only people with children are allowed to make lots of money? The child free aren't permitted to make gogabucks to leave to friends or charities?

                                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                                Thank you - the statement that only parents should need to make a lot of money rocked my world a little.

                                              2. re: Monica

                                                Ina has a large organization behind her staffed with people who do need the money. So they are going to propel any WalMart frozen dinner idea. That she has no children gives her more time to fill. So she gets it fill it with more money making enterprises. And gets prestige and bragging rights within her circle of mega-chefs. If very successful maybe the Martha Stewart org will buy her out the way they did a lot of Emeril...which translates into tens of millions in the bank ...cha-ching

                                                Martha buying Emeril for 50 million >> http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23235422/si...

                                                Though I do agree with your original point. The point of piling up big money you cannot possible spend is for your children and their children and in this lousy economy they just might need some of it before you expire. What I really like are businesses that are family dynasties. I often see this on DD&D in the Greek-American diners and I notice how Guy Fieri likes to probe into this. More power to 'em!!

                                                1. re: lastZZ

                                                  oh no, can you imagine how Martha Stewart would shill the Barefoot Contessa name?

                                                  Pardon me, ttommmy, but i cannot fathom Ina selling a majority of her name/brand to Martha.

                                                  Who knows, maybe I'll be eating my words in a year or so? No, Ina, No!

                                                  1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                    "Pardon me, ttommmy, but i cannot fathom Ina selling a majority of her name/brand to Martha."

                                                    I don't believe I mentioned this.

                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      You didn't. I was referring to:

                                                      "I think too many people project their attitudes and ideals onto celebrities and then are disappointed to find out they are human."

                                                      I'd like to think Ina has too much sense and integrity to sell out her good name - but that's just me projecting.

                                                  2. re: lastZZ

                                                    "The point of piling up big money you cannot possible spend is for your children and their children and in this lousy economy they just might need some of it before you expire."

                                                    Or to leave behind as a charitable foundation funding alma maters and causes of one's choosing.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      Exactly, mcf. Many worthy recipients for one's legacy--schools, religious organizations, social welfare nonprofits, soup kitchens or food banks, medical research institutions, etc. If one thinks that the "point of piling up big money you cannot possible spend is for your children and their children and in this lousy economy they just might need some of it before you expire", perhaps that kind of person shouldn't have children if he/she can't leave them gigabucks.

                                                  3. re: Monica

                                                    Ina doesn't have kids to inherit her money so I don't really understand why she is doing it.


                                                    Is there a limit on how much money a person can make or have in a lifetime?

                                                    If there is, can you point me to it? I think a guy I know by the name of Warren Buffet may be interested in this ...

                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                      As a parent, I don't understand the comment that only those with kids should want to make money. As Andrew Carnegie put it, better leave your children a curse than a dollar. Maybe Ina just wants to give Walmart shoppers who are buying frozen dinners a better option. Think of the number of people this will employ. I'm not getting the hate. Her being child-free is irrelevant.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Well said.
                                                        It's amazing how some people automatically think the worst of Ina and make the decision immediately to no longer support her or even like her, instead of thinking along the lines you suggest chowser. Why can't we just assume she is doing something positive instead of negative? I would hate to have some of these people as friends and be judged without knowing the facts every time I did something they did not agree with or seemed out of character.

                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                            You're right. Are people with children only allowed to try to get ahead? Should she have, when younger, decided not to go into the food business because she didn't have kids? Have you thought that she might be contributing to the world in other ways than procreating?

                                                          2. I love Ina Garten and like her style and way of food.

                                                            She does this to make money. More power to her. And I don't understand why selling her food at Wal-Mart is a bad thing. Perhaps she should only sell her meals at Upper East Side boutique food stores specializing in locally sourced, organic, sustainably grown, co-op raised, etc., and charge 5 times as much for the same product? I bet they'd fly off the shelves.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                              that sounds rather nice to me, would at least be a step closer to having a high quality product that befits her (or shall I say, my perception of her)

                                                              1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                                "that sounds rather nice to me, would at least be a step closer to having a high quality product that befits her (or shall I say, my perception of her)"

                                                                Really? You'd rather pay "5 times as much for the same product" at a "boutique food store?" Wow.

                                                                Pssst...I have a bridge to sell you.

                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  LOL, you read much closer than me. I didn't notice "for the same product". I was thinking the poster meant a product that was "locally sourced, organic, sustainably grown, co-op raised, etc.,"

                                                                  1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                                    From what I read, they're selling for $9 each. Not exactly Banquet or Michelina prices...

                                                                    Perhaps they have some of the qualities that you mention. I won't assume they don't until I see them.

                                                                      1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                                        I was, actually, referring to the same product, but sold at a premium at a high falutin' store.

                                                                2. Why shouldn't those who shop at Walmart have access to what will likely be quality products? Should those who can't afford to shop in pricier stores be forced to buy only what we deem to be acceptable? And what is the criteria? And what, precisely, gives us the right to make those decisions?

                                                                  None of this fuss makes sense to me, (except that HuffPo continues to deteriorate.)

                                                                  (And I'm neutral on the subject of Ina Garten, except that the few of her shows that I've seen have been well-produced, and that the food shown has looked excellent.)

                                                                  1. Well I'll try anything once, but 22 oz is not exactly saying dinner for two to me:


                                                                    1. Does Jeffrey like it ? Maybe that is all that matters.

                                                                      Better than leaving him frozen hot dogs to thaw in the sink .

                                                                      Ina's mug from the package can stare at him as he eats.

                                                                      1. That's kind of funny. I got her "Foolproof" for Christmas (love it) and she has a whole section about "Can I freeze this?" (apparently a common question to her) and she more or less says that most things don't freeze very well, and it's much better to make things fresh. I'm paraphrasing of course.

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                          I've seen that she tends to say things won't freeze well, and that is my main objection here. She just really pushes the "good" ingredients and using everything fresh in her show. So a frozen bag meal seems to go back on all she stands for.

                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                            Freezing food at home and freezing food commercially are two very different processes. The former can result in freezer burn while the latter involves a process that freezes and packages foods in such a way to prevent this.

                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                              Ina lives in a very rarified world, which she worked very hard to get into. That means plenty of time to spend in her professionally equipped kitchen in the Hamptons working with nothing but the very best ingredients, hosting lunches with celebrities throughout the week, planning her next trip to Paris, and thinking of nice menus for Jeffrey when he comes home from Manhattan on the weekends. So much of her television show and "brand" is to let regular people enter into this fantasy lifestyle.

                                                                              But the rest of us do not live that way and can use frozen foods to pop in the microwave. Surely she's figured out what does and does not freeze well. I am going to bet that her frozen meals are quite good. If they're well priced at Wal-Mart, even better.

                                                                            2. re: DGresh

                                                                              I agree. I have no children and never will. Doesn't mean I don't want to make a lot of money to pass along to my nieces or give to my church and favorite charities after I die. I can't believe people still have this kind of mentality in 2013.

                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                Agreed on this point. I'm child free, but I do have a nephew, and he'll likely have children one day. And there are always charities to help those who need it. It's not like anyone aspires to someday line their caskets with cash.

                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                  Are you speaking to me? I wasn't dissing anyone for making money, children or not.

                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                    Ooh, I didn't intend my comment to go back to you. I didn't check out all the RE: stuff carefully enough.

                                                                                  2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                    Nothing wrong with passing some on to nephews and nieces. I got along great with one childless aunt. Me+sister were in her will. Another aunt who had two children gave me+sister a nice good will amount

                                                                                    "church and favorite charities after I die."

                                                                                    Great ideas too. I am disappointed when institutionS with humongous endowments (like Harvard) get large donations. If you pile up some money in life you should be able to leave it to who and what you want with minimum taxation. I don't like Government taking money you earned and were taxed on once...taxing it again (via estate taxes) to fund their harebrained schemes

                                                                                2. Wow! Now THAT is both daunting and disgusting. I'm a big fan of Ina---her cookbooks are seriously never-fail. Every single recipe that is "hers" that I have made has been a keeper. That being said, I also enjoy her show--she "seemingly" believes in fresh, sustainable and seasonable products AND is a big believer in simplicity. OK. So WHY is she doing processed, frozen dinners? You know, I'm so sick of this "branding" garbage. She made a great success of The Barefoot Contessa..which is great. However, I did have a little twinge of "WTF" when I saw her packaged brownie mix and other mixes at Williams Sonoma--this frozen dinner garbage makes me ill. Too bad--no will buy.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                                                    <I saw her packaged brownie mix and other mixes at Williams Sonoma>

                                                                                    Okay, I'm assuming you *saw* and didn't *purchase* and prepare. I've used several of them and they're stellar.
                                                                                    I'm at a loss why people are hating on Ina. So, she wants to sell her frozen food at Walmart?

                                                                                    <Too bad--...>

                                                                                    Sounds like you're hoping? I, for one, having never stepped foot in a Walmart in my life, will drive whatever it takes to purchase them. I'm very curious.

                                                                                  2. Emeril has had sauces and seasonings and nobody seemed to complain.

                                                                                    Mario Bario Batali has some (quite good) jarred sauce and nobody seems to complain.

                                                                                    Giada D, T Keller, and W. Puck all sell product. No disses.

                                                                                    I'm not criticising until I try.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: junescook

                                                                                      <Giada D, T Keller, and W. Puck all sell product.>

                                                                                      Frozen tasting menus from Per Se?

                                                                                      1. re: junescook

                                                                                        Call me one who complained about Emeril. I borrowed (thankfully didn't purchase) one of his cookbooks, and 75% of the recipes called for one variety or another of Emeril's seasonings. I thought selling a cookbook that was an ad for your products was in poor taste.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker

                                                                                          Well, one thing in Emeril's favor is that he happily provides the recipe for his original "Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning" online &/or with any recipe that calls for it. I make it up myself (minus most of the salt) & keep a jar of it in the pantry. As far as his other seasonings go, I imagine they're no different than any other Italian seasoning, chicken rub, etc., etc., & you could easily use your own.

                                                                                          Sad, but he definitely wasn't quite as "commercial" prior to Martha Stewart getting her hooks into him.

                                                                                          1. re: JonParker

                                                                                            Paul Prudhomme does the same thing on his shows. Never read one of his cookbooks, but i'd bet it's the same.

                                                                                        2. It's an extension of a brand, nothing more. Sure, it might not jive with one of her principles which is to use fresh this, fresh that (though she does use frozen vegetables in dishes like pot pie).

                                                                                          There's really nothing new here -- she already sells packaged dry cake mixes through retailers like Crate & Barrel. If they're lousy, they probably won't sell. I know I was not fond of the one lemon cake mix I made years ago, and I haven't been tempted to buy another one. But I'm still a fan.

                                                                                          As has already been stated here, she's got bills to pay, and endeavors (whether charitable or not) to fund, just like countless others.

                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Frosty Melon

                                                                                            I have given Ina's boxed brownie mixes as hostess gifts and have been told they are amazing. I have several of her cookbooks and have enjoyed them all.

                                                                                            When did it become a bad thing in this countryto start a business and make it grow? That's exactly what Ina Garten has done.

                                                                                            It seems that people who aren't successful somehow think that those who are, have stolen from them. Are people really so jealous and petty that they attack her for working hard and spending HER money to live well? How does that take anything away from you?

                                                                                            I wish I could afford an apartment in Paris...but I sure don't resent Ina for having one.

                                                                                            I wish her and every entrepreneur in this country lots of success.

                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                              Haven't you heard... only people with children should be successful. (insert eye roll here)

                                                                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                Like, Leepa! Ha, ha!

                                                                                                I confess that I don't get all the hate, here ( and I'm saying this as someone who has never purchased a Barefoot Contessa or Garten-branded item, save for a cookbook I bought my sister for a gift).are they produced in sweatshop conditions or something? If so, I would have an issue, but I haven't seen that mentioned in the thread.

                                                                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                  Before your eye balls get stuck up there.
                                                                                                  Geeez, that was just one of the examples or reasons why I was surprised she started the frozen dinner but not the only reason. Just surprised to see Ina trying so hard to make extra $$$ because some people were saying there must be financial reasons why she is trying to make extra money which I don't think is the reason.

                                                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                                                    Huh? It's usually financial reasons why people try to make money. What other reason would someone have? And I doubt she had to try all that hard. Probably she was approached by some company to come up with the concept of these meals and attach her name to them. It profits the company as well as her. People are employed making them. I don't see the problem.

                                                                                                    Thanks for your concern, but my eyeballs are fine. ; )

                                                                                                2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                  I think the recent Wall Street scandals have tainted the idea of success and linked it with greed in many people's minds, particularly when they feel critical of the business venture itself.

                                                                                                  1. re: emily

                                                                                                    And not to put this on too political a bent, I think the fact that loads of "regular folks" haven't had a raise in years (assuming they still have a job) tend to be a bit tired of the ones at the top that seem to reap rewards regardless. I'm not upset at Ina's latest venture, but there's a bit of "fatigue" out there among many who think the system is stacked against them.

                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                      The demonization of those who have started a business, worked hard, and earned money the old fashioned way is wrong.

                                                                                                    2. re: emily

                                                                                                      Success is fine. I just think that when you are all about "good" ingredients, and based on my experience no frozen prepared meal has ever been particularly good, it's a bit hypocritical to put your name on them.

                                                                                                      "How bad can that be?" Probably bloody awful.

                                                                                                    3. re: DaisyM


                                                                                                      Successful businesses mean a healthy economy. Some people don't understand the dynamics of business.

                                                                                                  2. It should be all about the food or product being hawked. Just as I learned as a teenager that the ability of a rockstar to write a compelling and sensitve song did not mean that said rockstar was not a screaming a**hole I learned as an adult to ignore the celebrity name and evaluate the procuct (be it fashion, food or cookware) on its own merits. I'm no big Mario Batali fan but I bought and love his enameled cast iron lasagna pan; my purchase had nothing to do with his name and everything to do with the quality of the pan. I would base my decision of whether or not to purchase one of these dinners more on the list of ingredients than Ina Garten 's name on the package.

                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                      "It should be all about the food or product being hawked. Just as I learned as a teenager that the ability of a rockstar to write a compelling and sensitve song did not mean that said rockstar was not a screaming a**hole..."

                                                                                                      Absolutely true. I learned early on that most "celebrities" (in my case, rock stars as well) are nowhere near who we think they are from the the very limited amount of time we see them on TV or read about them on the Internet or in magazines. That is what I tried to say way up above. The people who are aghast at Ina selling frozen meals at Walmart think they really know her, but they can never really know her from what is allowed to be seen on TV, etc.

                                                                                                      Buy and try the product. Taste it with an open mind. Then report back here, yea or nay.

                                                                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                        "Buy and try the product. Taste it with an open mind. Then report back here, yea or nay." ~ ttoommyy

                                                                                                        At Ina's prices? No thanks. You post a nice sentiment, but all that does is put $$ into Ina's coffers. If it were cheaper, perhaps I'd give it a try some time. But even then, it frankly gives me the heebie-jeebies to buy & try something when it has a celebrity's mug or name plastered on it.

                                                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                          First, I doubt it will be very expensive as it is being sold at Walmart and other big box stores. Second, if you refuse to try it then you do not have the right to dismiss it out of hand. Common sense.
                                                                                                          Third, my comment was not directed just to you, Bacardi1.

                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                            How can you dismiss it "out of hand" if you *do try it?? ;-)

                                                                                                            Anyone is entitled to an opinion.

                                                                                                            Maybe she's offering these foods to her non cooking fans who really like her and want to taste her food?

                                                                                                            I don't buy frozen meals, but if hers are better than what's out there, they'll do well with folks who do. If they're not, they won't.

                                                                                                            The market will decide.

                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                              Her Facebook posting about it said they will cost about $8.99. To me that sounds expensive. I can crank out a scratch skillet meal for way less than that with a bit of careful shopping and taking advantage of sales.

                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                I got an e-mail from BC today about them. They're only available at Shop Rite so far. Since I don't live in NJ, no frozen Ina for me.

                                                                                                                I haven't had a frozen dinner since my mother died in 1977, but I might try one, if only to be able to know what I'm talking about when I talk about it.

                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                  That's about a dollar or so more than the current competition in the bagged frozen dinner category. Of course, these kinds of items are often on special, or have coupons. At the supermarket yesterday there was a big display of the Bertolli dinners for $5.99 (regularly 7.99).

                                                                                                                  However, even at the discounted price, that is still a lot of money for what you are actually getting. A few small pieces of meat, frozen vegetables, sauce and pasta or rice.

                                                                                                              2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                At Ina's prices? No thanks. You post a nice sentiment, but all that does is put $$ into Ina's coffers. If it were cheaper, perhaps I'd give it a try some time. But even then, it frankly gives me the heebie-jeebies to buy & try something when it has a celebrity's mug or name plastered on it.

                                                                                                                That's an odd statement.

                                                                                                                Why do you have an aversion with Ina profiting from your money?

                                                                                                                You do realize that any time you buy something, someone is profiting from your money, right?

                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  Our entire economy benefits when a business is successful. More people are employed and more taxes are generated.

                                                                                                                2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                  The naysayers of Ina and her successes are *not* going to go out and purchase her products.
                                                                                                                  If they *do* purchase her product, and it's stellar, they now have nothing to bitch about when it comes to her success.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                    Agreed, tloommyy! I don't get all the Ina bashing on this thread. Just because she now has money? They worked for what they have and deserve every penny. Just because she wants people to use "good" ingredients? She wants people to use the best they can afford. I love Ina. I think she's as real as they get on this channel!

                                                                                                                3. I wish she would market her custom made shirts instead

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: catroast

                                                                                                                    Ah, her "shents"? That's what they used to call them on the late Food Network Humor website

                                                                                                                  2. What I find really interesting is that Ina Garten and Martha Stewart both come from a business background. I don't recall that either one had any professional culinary training. Yet, each has built a huge culinary empire. It is business savvy, not culinary skills that made it work. There are probably some really talented chefs behind the scenes who make this all happen - talented chefs on salary with great culinary skills and little to no business sense. This happens in other industries also - cosmetic companies started by MBA's who know squat about cosmetics but tons about business.

                                                                                                                    The key here is the MBA not the culinary degree.

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                                      Somehow I find it hard to believe that Ina could have successfully run a catering company without some culinary talent.

                                                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                        I get the impression that Ina's culinary acumen was limited to X amount of dishes that she got very good at in her catering business.
                                                                                                                        She knew how to please crowds with bulk cooking. She still goes back to her BC's recipes, but in a smaller scale.
                                                                                                                        I think it's somewhat like having an innate sense of taste and what works. Michael Kors and Nina Garcia were known for saying that you can't teach "taste" on Project Runway. Some sartorially talented contestants will always turn out one pageant dress after another.
                                                                                                                        I think Ina's just got "it" in the kitchen and I've never had a fail when using her recipes and I think that it's because her motto is "how easy it that!".
                                                                                                                        Makes me more at ease at trying something new.

                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                          It was a very successful, raved about business.

                                                                                                                        2. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                                          Ina was a policy wonk in DC. She's a self taught cook and was known for giving great dinner parties. She bought a store in the Hamptons that did prepared foods called "The Barefoot Contessa.

                                                                                                                          Martha started as a model and then a stock broker and then a caterer.

                                                                                                                          You don't need an MBA to start a successful business. Example Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

                                                                                                                          1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                                            You're confusing formal training for talent, and lack of it for no talent.

                                                                                                                            Ina is not only a very talented cook, she's also the source of some of the most easy to reproduce, successful recipes for any cook, due to her diligence in making sure they're complete and foolproof.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              Ina is not only a very talented cook, she's also the source of some of the most easy to reproduce, successful recipes for any cook, due to her diligence in making sure they're complete and foolproof.
                                                                                                                              I think that's a great motto that sums up Ina; be complete and be foolproof.
                                                                                                                              I think that goes to the heart of the success of and confidence in her brand.
                                                                                                                              I remember watching Paula Deen's show a couple years ago and she was laughing about not ever testing a recipe she put in her book, as in, I don't think she ever even made it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                I can't remember what show I saw this on but the producers were talking about working with Ina in developing her show, She said she had gotten up in the middle of the night because she had an idea for a good mac and cheese. They said they knew then that her show would be a success. She's not being a chef at a five star restaurant; she's making food that we all eat on a daily basis. Working to find a great brownies recipe and sharing it doesn't take a culinary degree. I sound like I'm such a big Ina fan and I'm really not. I've had success with her recipes for the most part but I never intentionally seek her recipes out. But, I'm surprised how reviled she is for her success.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  <I'm surprised how reviled she is for her success>

                                                                                                                                  I agree. It's difficult to understand the haters.
                                                                                                                                  Are they jealous? Why are they so adamant with their hatred?
                                                                                                                                  Dig deep haters....
                                                                                                                                  What is it?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                    I also don't understand the derision of middle America and her selling food to them. How is it better to be selling only upscale food to the wealthy?

                                                                                                                                2. I opened this thread because of the title. I am very interested in trying Ina Garten Frozen Dinners. I don't think she would put her name on something that wasn't good.

                                                                                                                                  There is a niche market for higher end frozen dinners, in my mind this is very smart marketing.

                                                                                                                                  I don't like Wal*Mart. Hope they are available at other stores, so I can at least try them.

                                                                                                                                    1. Chow's Supertaster has deemed them worthy:


                                                                                                                                      I'm still not sold, the price is high for two small portions. I think you could make the equivalent from scratch, with better ingredients, with out too much more effort.

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for pointing that video out. The portions seem REALLY small, not enough for two unless you added a heaping serving of vegetables. The three he tried could definitely be done at home w/ little effort. The shrimp scampi w/ pasta comes w/ uncooked shrimp so it's not that much of a stretch to do it all yourself.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                          I'm bumping this thread to say I tried one of these--it was on sale and I had a coupon :)

                                                                                                                                          Beef bourgiugnon, said the package.

                                                                                                                                          Ina should be ashamed to put her name on this product. The meat, what there was of it, was good, but the sauch and veggies were utterly vile.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                            I've tried the Beef Bourguignon. Yes I had a coupon and I love Ina's shows, cookbooks, etc.

                                                                                                                                            It made me sad! I could feel the bloat as I was eating it, WAY WAY too much salt.

                                                                                                                                            The meat seemed a nice texture, but as far as taste.. there was little I could detect besides salt, sadly. :(

                                                                                                                                        2. Side note-- this may not be true of Ina specifically, but not all chefs "own" their own name.

                                                                                                                                          The company that produces their show, publishes their cookbooks, or funds their restaurant "owns" their name.

                                                                                                                                          When you see a chef shilling on QVC, HSN, or The Chew, Target, WalMart, or wherever, do you think it was THEIR idea or the demand of the juggernaut behind their continued success?

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                            Definitely agree. In this case there was a legal issue about the brand name "Contessa". I haven't really read anything that spells out all the details, but apparently, this product line is a sort of settlement agreement between Ina (the Barefoot Contessa) and Contessa Foods (they produce frozen seafood and frozen meals under their own name).

                                                                                                                                            And, a lot of people are getting hung up on the Walmart issue. As far as I have read, Walmart has nothing to do with the production of these items. They are just one of the many retailers who have agreed to carry the product line.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                              I suspect the WalMart hang up has to do with demographics and target markets... a portion of CHers will assert that they would NEvah set foot into a WM.

                                                                                                                                              To be stereotypical in both directions, some people can't imagine a WalMart shopping foodstamp carrying single mother of multiple children on welfare being intrigued by an Ina creation. For $9. For 2 gourmet servings.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                I think Target/Costco which has a higher income customer base might have been a better market.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                  Are you certain they aren't in Target stores?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Leepa

                                                                                                                                                    They could be. I was just going by the article that said it would be in Safeway and Walmart and the whole Walmart thing took its own life in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                      Though I doubt they'll hit Costco, I could totally see them in Target though it isn't mentioned in this. Love the aside about Jeffery being able to understand the instructions.

                                                                                                                                                      "The meals will retail for around $8.99 and are meant to serve two people. Ina stated at her recent appearance in Delaware that the meals will be hitting grocery stores this weekend. Contessa Premium Foods CEO Don Binotto told Undercurrentnews that the grocery stores that will be shipped the meals include: Shaws, Wakefern, Price Chopper, WalMart, Safeway, Publix, Ahold, Meijer, and Marsh Supermarket. From reading both articles, it looks like there will be nine different Barefoot Contessa meals including a chicken and shrimp jambalaya, a shrimp scampi linguine, beef bourguignon, and sesame chicken.

                                                                                                                                                      Hopefully Ina's frozen food line gets better reviews than Guy Fieri's Frozen Smore's Pizza, and her husband Jeffrey can understand the directions on the packaging."

                                                                                                                                          2. Everyone votes fail without trying them - is that fair? Ina's a business after all. I admit I was skeptical when I learned of the new frozen venture and decided to wait until they arrived at Safeway,

                                                                                                                                            I was very surprised, up to this time the only frozen meals I've found "acceptable" were in France or Italy. They seem to know something we don't. Ina's have a very different approach to what you do with the food when you open and prepare it. Still keeping exactly to the time suggested on the package, the results are good. With a little help (salt, pepper, soy, chili) to suit your own taste - they're better than good. Wouldn't you add a little salt to something you cooked yourself?

                                                                                                                                            Give her a break - they're less expensive than the crap P.F.Changs and way better.

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: cuvee31

                                                                                                                                              "Everyone votes fail without trying them - is that fair? "

                                                                                                                                              Not in this thread, not by a long shot.

                                                                                                                                              I just think folks are so accustomed to celebrity chefs/cooks putting their names on crap <*cough, Paula Deen, cough*> that the index for suspicion is kind of high.

                                                                                                                                              But despite her relaxed manner in the kitchen on her show, she's completely obsessive about making sure what she puts out meets her high standards. Credible reports say she's turned out a better than pedestrian frozen product, as has been discussed in this thread.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuvee31

                                                                                                                                                Then you missed my comment up thread and the SuperTaster review over @ CHOW just to name a few.

                                                                                                                                                What's with the word "everyone"....ugh.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  We need ChemK to do a poll here because I thought there were more for her doing this than against.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                    I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just happened to get a run of negatives without running into a positive. Maybe I rushed to judgment when I thought that Ina was being unfairly slammed. I'll be more careful in future. Promise.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cuvee31

                                                                                                                                                      That's all I was asking :)
                                                                                                                                                      It's way too easy to let the passion of opinions on CH appear completely negative. Slow down and enjoy the ride!

                                                                                                                                                2. I confess, I eat frozen food! I would love quality frozen food. I will buy hers.

                                                                                                                                                  I think people don't realize that folks are in business to make money. It's called capitalism. And I love it!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Looks like they're being discontinued. BC posted this on Facebook today:

                                                                                                                                                    "Several of you have asked about my Barefoot Contessa Sauté Dinners. After an amazingly positive reception in thousands of stores across America, the company that prepared my dinners has been sold to a much larger food company. I believe in being very involved and hands-on to ensure the quality of my dinners and the smaller company allowed me to do that. So, I’ve decided to hit the pause button and go back to what I love doing most – writing cookbooks. Thank you so much for your extraordinary support, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my cookbooks and television shows."

                                                                                                                                                    1. Last week saw three of her frozen entrees in Hannaford, which hadn't had them before. Tried the garlic shrimp with linguine. Awful, just awful. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I guess frozen skillet dinners will never be what they claim to be - even with Ina.

                                                                                                                                                      1. FROM SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY ATE ONE!!! I love BFC and think its awesome that she is trying to bring her food to the masses. No, a frozen meal will never be the same as a freshly prepared meal, but I can say the 'Roasted Seafood with Tomatoes & Feta' was quite good. None of the seafood in the dish was precooked. Box recommended oven cooking instead of microwave which sounds right. It was very tasty, well seasoned, and the seafood was not overcooked since it had not been pre-cooked. Texture could be better. Bread crumbs did not toast on top, but just mixed in with the dish. But, there are much worse things I could say about most frozen foods. Also, my expectations were a bit lowered since I got it on clearance from Safeway...meaning it may not be around much longer. But, in any case, I was not disappointed. I got it for half price, $4.50. I don't think her dishes will do well in the average supermarket because ingredients like 'fennel' confuse the average person and mixing seafood with a strong cheese like feta may not seem like it would work. But, it was good, very good, for a frozen meal. And, it was relatively healthy.

                                                                                                                                                        I have opened up my mind a lot more towards frozen foods as more and more solid players enter this marketspace. One of my favorite brands is Amy's. For those that think this is a total sellout of the Ina Garten brand, I think that's silly. All the real cooks I know (including myself) are not against making large portions and freezing off some for later. When buying others' frozen products, its just important to read ingredients and make sure it is mostly made of natural foods (or whatever foods you approve of). There's no reason it can't be as good as your home-made chili, soup, etc that you froze extras of a few weeks ago. I would just recommend try before you comment. A lot of you are acting like children who say 'yuck' when their mom serves up dinner before even taking a bite. :-)

                                                                                                                                                        As for the fact that she has no children or so much money already, this is soooooo irrelevant to the food. Everyone is free to make as much or as little money as they choose. I would venture to say most people are NOT considering how much money they can leave their children when entering a new business. I would hope my mother enjoys all her money and leaves nothing to me. And, I hope I am raising children that feel self-sufficient enough that they aren't looking for a big payout when I pass. Truth is, even the very rich of us will not be leaving much, if anything, to our children due to the cost of long-term healthcare. So, we should all make as much as we can/want and not worry about subsidizing the next generation (with the exception of taking care of them until adulthood).