10 Foods Ina Garten Flat Out Doesn't Like

She's seen it all, cooked it all, and eaten it all — wait. That's a definite "no" on that last one. She has not eaten it all. Shock of all shockers, she once confessed she didn't even know what matcha tastes like. (Jaw drop and side-eye. OMG!) Exqueeze us, but this is Ina Garten we're talking about! The Barefoot Contessa, hello? Ever heard of her? She roasts a chicken that makes people fall in love and get married and everything! What in the actual heck is going on here?

Yes, she's a global celebrity with access to the world's finest caviar, the most truffle-y white truffles, and Madagascar vanilla straight from the bees' butts (we're actually a little fuzzy on how it's made), but when it comes to some of those tried and true favorites — like, oh, maybe pizza — Garten's sitting with her arms crossed and her lips pursed closed. It doesn't work to do the little flying airplane spoon trick. We tried.

So what makes the list of Garten's top 10 most hated foods ever? From ancient herbs that taste like soap, to anything with a zoogleal mat in it (Ick. But also it's a kombucha thing), Garten's got very specific tastes. And exactly zero of them involve eyeballs.

Pumpkin spice lattes

Oh, Garten! She's just like the rest of us. Lounging at her East Hampton home, fully leaning into the most baseline autumnal trends: Uggs, chunky sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes. But while she has yet to confirm or deny the first two things, definitely scratch that latte. (World's smallest violin playing a sad song for Starbucks.)

For the official record, Garten is firmly Team No Way In Hell on the PSL. When "Today" asked for her take on the basic B of seasonal drinks, Garten offered, "Hmm. I like coffee to taste like coffee." FYI, caramel macchiatos, peppermint lattes, and orange mocha frappuccinos — you're out, too.

While Garten has offered us iced Italian coffee, coffee granita, and coffee chocolate chip ice cream sandwichesrecipes, she is famously candid about who makes the best straight-up coffee: her hubby Jeffrey. He uses 8 cups of water, half a cup of coffee, a coffee maker, and zero pumpkin spices, or frothy, foamy toppings. Not even a light dusting of cinnamon in sight. Considering that these two have been happily married for more than 50 years and counting, screw the lattes, it looks like Garten's got plenty of spice.


Official herb acknowledgment: We honor and respect this Ancient Egyptian herb and our ancestors who cultivated it. But we gotta be real. Most of us love cilantro for its peppery, lemony flavor ... but the rest of us prefer not to eat soapy flower plants. And, despite her highly refined tastes and cultured palate, Garten hates cilantro. Like, a lot.

When "Today" popped the cilantro question, Garten responded, "Not now, not ever." We did a little recon, and — yeah. Not a lot of cilantro showing up in her recipes, even for dishes that might typically feature it, like her guacamole, or lamb and chickpea curry where she suggests parsley or cilantro. (Pick parsley.) Her Mexican Chicken Soup also lists cilantro as being an optional garnish. She's just trying to relate to us cilantro lovers! Because, you know, whatever, she's simply perfect. 

But this isn't just a preference. Garten was likely born to loathe this herb. Just like the roughly 14 percent of people in the United States who can't stand this stuff, Garten's gene makeup could be playing a major role in picking up the smell of the chemical in cilantro that's also used to make soap. Yuck. Care for some shaved Irish Spring on your enchiladas? Just say when!

Two-handed appetizers

Okay, legit lifetime impossible dream: To be rubbing shoulders with fabulous guests at an Ina Garten dinner party. In her lush garden. With puppies. Bubbly cocktails, decadent snacks, selfies with Jeffrey on the lanai. Swoon. Also a bonus? Garten would never in a thousand years offer you an hors d'oeuvre that required the effort of more than one hand, in order to accept. Impossibly overstuffed chicken parmesan sliders? (Gasp!) Rude.

As she shared in her "Back to Basics" cookbook, Garten's preferred style of dinner party app comes as a single-handed treat. Not an uncivilized mess that spills into two hands. She wrote, "You're holding a cocktail having a perfectly nice conversation and someone offers you a grilled scallop served in a martini glass. Now, what exactly are you supposed to do with your drink? I'd pass it up." She has no qualms about handling a giant two-handed cosmo, however.

On the occasion that you do have a non-cocktail hand available, we would be totally down for one of her blinis with smoked Norwegian salmon, creme fraiche, and a sprig of fresh dill. Ooh, and yes on the Garten-crafted Gruyère cheese straws. Oh look, we just sprouted a third arm — are those her famous sausage-stuffed mushrooms? Keep 'em comin'.

Things that stain

Here's a little party tip shoutout to your newly acquired $10,000 snow white-colored Cloud Couch. As Garten notes in "Back to Basics" she avoids dishing out messy, notoriously stain-creating foods when they're going to be eaten free-range. She advises completely skipping things like heirloom beet salads and that bottle of red from that wine club you drunkenly joined, noting, "If you're serving buffet style and eating dinner on your lap in the living room, you're just inviting disaster."

LOL, we have no idea what she's talking about (while scrubbing a Tide Pen on the sangria stain that's never coming out). Ugh, how does Garten already know that we can't eat off an unbalanced plate and laugh and drink all at the same time? But also, thanks for looking out for us, I.G.

Of course, just about any food or drink could take a spontaneous dive and ruin the carpet. Looks like we're gonna have to take a dinner party break from her raspberry baked Alaska, those glorious red velvet cupcakes, that spicy mulled wine, the savory coq au vin ... okay, you know what? Maybe it makes more sense to redo the living room in all-red and just live our lives.

Food with eyeballs

Garten's not exactly a fan of constant, non-blinking eye contact. Especially when it comes to her food. And if anyone has questions about her feelings, she flat out told "Time," "I'm not big on things with eyeballs." We're 99 percent sure she isn't talking about an ice cream sundae with a maraschino cherry nose and M&M eyes.

Trends be damned, Garten's never going to eat the face of any creature great or small. No matter how sacred, or sustainable, or honorable it might be. Icelandic svið (boiled sheep's head)? A simple bowl of ukha (Russian fish head stew)? Peepers gonna peep, and Garten's gonna pass.

They may be the window to the soul, but Garten wants no part of experiencing that kind of connection with her food. And you'll likely never see a whole fish recipe appear anywhere in the Garten universe. She happily guides us through the steps to mastering mustard-roasted snapper, panko-crusted salmon, and grilled tuna steaks, but none of those fish will be able to watch us finish them off.

Grated parmesan from the store

Listen up: Store bought is not fine. We repeat: Store bought is not fine. Garten told "Time" that grated parmesan cheese is, in fact, the one thing she cannot accept from the deli section of even the most beautifully appointed, boutique-y market shop. And that might also include her own Barefoot Contessa store. This is serious cheese business, people. Garten is ruthless when it comes to good parm!

Reminding us every chance she gets that she "always grates it herself," it seems like half of Garten's recipes involve this crucial method of implementing tiny little bits of cheese. Hello, we love all the cheese. (Duh.) But why the intensity? Like, there are perfectly fine green canisters of Kraft grated parmesan right there on the shelf — wait, OMG, did you hear something? There! That scratching at the door ... Ina Garten? Is that you?

The punchy flavor of freshly grated — really good — parmesan cheese beats the pre-grated stuff any day of the week. And especially the canned stuff. Garten busts out the cheese grater to get those traditional fine strands, but she goes for her food processor when she needs a fine, powder-like parm texture. We feel like it should also count if you grate it with your teeth as you chew it and then swallow it because it's delicious.


Kombucha (bless you) is an ancient, fermented, slightly bubbly, tangy tea praised for its health benefits, including digestive support and a boost to the immune system. It also comes in a wide variety of flavors — even hard "booch" versions — and yeah. Garten's having none of this nonsense.

As she explained on "Today," "I'm not big on anything that's fermented." Whoa, whoa, whoa. Garten. That means an entire buzzy category of food gets knocked straight outta the running: Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, miso, and yogurt. How in the holy apple cider vinegar are we supposed to fortify our gut microbiomes?

We had a hard time believing that Garten was against all fermented foods, so we did a lil deep dive. We found a few recipes involving (fermented) soy sauce. But after the (also fermented!) sourdough bread-making trend went balls-to-the-wall in 2020, Garten admitted on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "I can't tell you how many people emailed me and said, 'What should I do about the sourdough starter,' and I am like, I've never made a sourdough bread in my life." Okay, well ... case closed.

Whiskey sours that aren't homemade

She once explained to "TIME" magazine that she loves a good cocktail — but only if she makes it herself (same, so is there a hotline to hire Garten to bartend all of our dinner parties?) — sharing that her favorite warm-weather cocktail would be: "Whiskey sours, every summer. But they have to be homemade, with fresh juice and good bourbon — Knob Creek." We would expect nothing less.

We're also guessing that if she were at a restaurant or dinner party and feeling whiskey sour-y, anyone and their mom would gladly let Garten behind the counter to stir up a cocktail herself. Drinks on the Barefoot Contessa!

If you wanna go top shelf with Garten's favorite summertime sipper any time of the year, all you need is Jack Daniels, fresh lemon and lime juice, sugar syrup, and a maraschino cherry. Shake for 30 seconds with ice, and serve it up cold. Just please don't drop that bright red cherry on your sofa.

Pineapple pizza

To be honest, we don't really think of pizza when we think of Ina Garten. And she's not spending too much time thinking about pizza either — especially the most deeply controversial pie of all time in the history of infinity. As she once described it, "Pineapple pizza. Ugh."

Okay, settle down all of you clapping and agreeing with her, while pineapple pizza posts a teary reaction video to its Instagram. Pineapple pizza deserves a fair shot. Why should pepperoni get all the glory? 

It's not like Garten isn't afraid to go out on a limb when it comes to polarizing pizza toppings. In 2018, she posted a pic of a pie from the former Martina Pizzeria in New York City. And, never mind pineapple, this pie was completely engulfed in Brussels sprouts. But, guys, Garten was loviiing iiit. Pineapple has appeared on the Garten grill, and as a feature of one of her cake recipes, so maybe there's a chance for this odd couple to realize their dreams of being together in a Garten kitchen after all — stranger things have happened in the universe!

Rando raw steak and eggs

Whether it's sushi, oysters on the half shell, or tamago kake gohan (a Japanese breakfast of straight egg yolk on white rice), you want to know where your food is coming from. Cuz ain't nobody ordering raw fish at a greasy spoon in Oklahoma. Or sushi from 7-Eleven. (What? Okay, nobody do that ever again.) Of course, Garten isn't messing around with the sourcing of her proteins.

As she penned in "Back to Basics," "I never eat steak tartare or raw eggs, unless I know they're from a safe place, so I'm not about to serve food to friends that requires me to explain its provenance." Aaand we're officially taking squid ceviche off the vision board.

Garten believes in us enough to let us share her tuna tartare recipe, as well as her instructions for a delicious bay scallop ceviche (hang on, where did you get those lettuce cups from? A lettuce cup tree?). But even though she could source the freshest fish on the planet, she's grilling her lemon dill butter oysters, or doing them up Rockefeller style, aka cooked. Add to that her party-friendly veggie sushi roll, and the only care anyone will have will be wondering what's for dessert.