Before she was a Food Network star, Ina Garten worked in the White House as a budget analyst for nuclear energy projects

The revered Barefoot Contessa has many talents. Most people know her for her approachable guides to cooking and hosting: over the years, her career has included best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular Food Network television show. Not everyone knows her past life as a member of the White House Office of Management and Budget. She holds an MBA from George Washington University and has her pilot's license.

Ms. Garten arrived there from the Jimmy Carter White House, where she was an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget (and one of only two women in her department). She had cooked her way through Julia Child's first two books as a budding political hostess while Mr. Garten worked at the State Department, and was ready for a second career; Mr. Garten went to work on Wall Street. Her decision not to have children, rare for a young woman back then, freed up a lot of time for work in her 30s and 40s; she was 51 when her first book was published.

Via New York Times