If you become stressed out at the thought of entertaining, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, should be your fairy godmother. Her Emmy Award-winning show specializes in simplifying entertaining to reduce anxiety and increase the chance of success. It has been a staple on the Food Network since 2002.
Garten took an unusual path to her cooking show. In a former life, she was a nuclear energy budget analyst for the Carter presidential administration (rather untraditional credentials for a food television show host). In 1978, Garten switched gears and opened a specialty food store called The Barefoot Contessa [source: Food Network]. Three cookbooks later, the television show came along. Now Garten offers pointers for how to host a cocktail party for a crowd; how to throw a housewarming party; how to make French cooking simpler; and how to plan a potluck dinner. Relax, she says – it's all doable.