Ina Garten Worked at The White House, On December 22, 1968, Rosenberg and Garten were married in Stamford, and soon relocated to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She began to dabble in cooking and entertaining in an effort to occupy her time while her husband served his four-year military tour during the Vietnam War; she also acquired her pilot’s license, according to an interview she gave to the Raleigh News & Observer. After her husband had completed his military service, the couple journeyed to Paris, France, for a four-month camping vacation that Garten has described as the birth of her love for French cuisine.
During this trip, she experienced open-air markets, produce stands, and fresh cooking ingredients for the first time. On returning to the U.S., she began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child’s seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her weekly dinner party tradition began taking shape during this time, and she refined her home entertaining skills when she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972.
In Washington, Garten worked in the White House and took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA, while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. Originally employed as a low-level government aide, she climbed the political ladder to the Office of Management and Budget and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.