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

Ina Garten
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."

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."

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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.

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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."

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