Food Network host/former nuclear policy analyst Ina Garten is suing a California-based company for selling copycat versions of her frozen dinner line. According to the Associated Press, Garten sells frozen meals under the name "Barefoot Contessa," which is also the name of her Food Network show, and a speciality food store she used to run. OFI Imports Inc. launched a line dubbed "Contessa Chef Inspired" that features almost identical packaging, including the red color scheme and bold white text. The lawsuit — which was filed at the U.S. District court in Manhattan yesterday — adds that many of the recipes are the same as well.
Ina Garten is putting her perfectly pedicured Hampton's bare foot down.
Garten's Barefoot Contessa dinner line was produced by a manufacturer called Contessa Premium Foods, which Garten does not have any ownership in, although she tried to purchase it last year. The company went out of business last spring, however. OFI Foods then bought Contessa Premium Foods but the lawsuit alleges that OFI did not purchase the licensing rights for the Barefoot Contessa Brand. So Garten is putting her perfectly pedicured Hampton's bare foot down and seeking damages. Consumerist writes that a press release from Garten's company notes that it was customers who brought the issue to Garten's attention, said that they "incorrectly believed" the copycat meals were her products.
In addition to a successful frozen meals line, Garten also wrote the top selling cookbook of 2014. According to Publishers Weekly, her book Make it Ahead sold over 512,000 copies. She's also hitting the speaking circuit: This March, Garten will participate in biannual food magazine Cherry Bombe's Jubilee conference in New York City.