Ina Garten, a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa, was originally scheduled to come to Milwaukee Nov. 2, but her appearance was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, the show was not cancelled and Garten made her first-ever trip to Milwaukee on Thursday night for a chat at the Riverside Theater.
The stage consisted of two leather chairs, a rug, a lamp and a table with Garten's new book, "Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust," propped up on display. Off the bat, Garten addressed the postponement of her show, saying, "I'm sorry I'm late."
Nancy Stohs served as the moderator for the event, having collected questions in advance, stating the name, age and location of the person who submitted it. This approach was a bit rocky at the beginning as the questions were often unrelated so that there wasn't really any progression or tie-in to the previous answer. Also, Stohs seemed to be focusing on the next question to read and wasn't really listening to Garten's answers. Instead it seemed like she was just waiting for Garten to stop talking and moving to the next question as soon as there was any pause.
Garten's natural charisma helped cover some of the early blemishes. While Garten quickly bonded with the audience, it took longer for her to develop chemistry with her on-stage counterpart. This was finally achieved when Garten commented "I love that everybody has their age," joking about an unnecessary element that prefaced each question. This broke the ice on-stage and helped forge a good rhythm that stayed pretty consistent until near the end of the show.
Along the way, Garten shared her thoughts on a wide range of cooking and entertaining topics. While she was pretty consistent in offering practical advice, some of her suggestions were not cost effective for those with a food budget. In one instance, she recommended that the best way to discover your favorite type of an ingredient (such as olive oil) would be to buy four or five different brands and perform your ow…Read more...