Lifestyle Food Ina Garten Recalls Her Days as a Store Owner — and the Reason She's Named the Barefoot Contessa "OMG it's been a crazy and fun ride!!" the Food Network star said By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 27, 2021 12:25 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Ina Garten. Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage Ina Garten is taking a stroll down memory lane. On Thursday, the 73-year-old Food Network star shared a throwback photograph on Instagram and recounted how her illustrious career first began. "Forty-three years ago today, I started my career in food in this tiny (400 square foot!) specialty food store in Westhampton Beach, NY," Garten wrote on a saturated photograph of a small, white-paneled shop. In the photo, you can see the shop's name, Barefoot Contessa, which would later become Garten's nickname and the title of her first cookbook and TV show. "OMG it's been a crazy and fun ride!!" she continued. "Thank you to all the friends and customers who taught me so much along the way." Ina Garten Is 'So Excited' to Have Friends Over for Dinner Again — and Cook This 'Decadent' Pasta Recipe On Instagram, Garten also wrote about her experience as a store owner during that inaugural day. "The first day in the store, we grossed $87 (before expenses!) and we thought it was a disaster," she wrote. "But Friday was Memorial Day weekend (in the Hamptons!) and it turned out to be a very different story." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Though she sold the shop in 1996, Garten said that first day experience is one she still remembers and holds dear to her heart. "We stayed up cooking and baking all night and I remember thinking how happy I was!! ❤️❤️❤️," she added. RELATED VIDEO: Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda Cook with Ina Garten Back in 2016, Garten opened up to PEOPLE about her former store and how, at the time, she was previously working as a nuclear policy analyst in the Jimmy Carter administration, but she was ready for a change. When she saw a New York Times ad for a business for sale in Westhampton Beach, New York, she jumped on the opportunity to turn her love of cooking into a career, opening her signature specialty food store. She inherited the name from the previous owners who got it from a movie with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart. "It was terrifying," she admitted of making the leap as an entrepreneur. "While it wasn't $50 billion government budgets, it was only $50, but it was my $50." "My financial life was on the line and I loved that," she added. "I love to jump off the cliff and figure out how to fly on my way down."