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'My cooking angel!' Ina Garten invites Tamron to her home for a cooking session

Meeting your favorite celebrity is always exciting, but it has extra meaning when it's someone who holds a special place in your heart. 

Today Tamron Hall got to meet the sweet and lovable "Barefoot Contessa": Ina Garten, whose books taught Tamron how to cook after her stepfather - the man the anchor called dad - passed away six years ago. 

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"She was like my cooking angel," Tamron said Tuesday on TODAY. "She guided me. I love her!"

Tamron's father, Clarence Newton Sr., cooked every meal for his family before he passed away. But now, thanks to Ina's books, it's Tamron who helps out in the family kitchen during the holidays. 

Tamron Hall: I'm #InspiredBy my stepfather, who 'was a great dad'

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Tamron had always wanted to meet her cooking idol. She even drove to the East Hampton, New York, restaurants and bakeries cited in the "Barefoot Contessa" books, hoping Garten might happen to be there.

Ina Garten shares her secrets for a make-ahead dinner party, plus 4 easy recipes

On Tuesday, Ina walked onto the set during TODAY's Take and invited Tamron to cook with her. 

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"Are you serious?" Tamron responded.

"I would love it!" Ina said with her arm around Tamron. 

Dreams+come+true!+The+woman+who+inspired+me+to+cook+@inagarten+I+love+my+job+@TODAYshow+#tearsofjoy+pic.twitter.com/x7aiMAxAlZ

—+Tamron+Hall+(@tamronhall)+October+28,+2014+

FollowTODAY digital dude Kyle Michael Miller on Twitter.

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